The science behind yellow vest cannibalism


JAbuse of teenage girls can often feel like life and death, but yellow jackets, Showtime’s hit series about a New Jersey women’s soccer team stranded in the wild, it really is. Hungry, frozen and without prey, the teenagers, with little else to lose, slowly turned from their classmates into cannibals.

It’s not a far-fetched scenario – the show’s creators referenced the real-life disasters that inspired it, many of which turned to cannibalism. But with a dozen mouths to feed, it seems like an unsustainable eating strategy for the show’s survivors. The show’s creators are planning three more seasons, so viewers will be left wondering, “How will one of the Yellow Jackets survive before being rescued?” the question arises.

What do we know so far? yellow jackets calendar

The team’s plane seems to crash in the spring and they spend the summer chasing animals very easily. But when the snow started to fall, the Yellow Jackets — now another team that included their assistant Ben and the head coach’s two sons, Travis and Xavi — ran out of food. After Queen Bee discovers that Jackie slept with (and got pregnant from) her best friend Shauna’s boyfriend, but the group fails to confront her, Jackie retreats into the cold alone. , he freezes to death in the early winter snow. Jackie was the first member of the team to be consumed in late November after the team starved (and saved their bodies) for two months.

Sheer desperation is what drives the group to cross the line by eating one of their own, which is consistent with what we know from the long history of human cannibalism. “We’ve seen cut marks and tooth marks on bones from about a million years ago,” says James Cole, a senior lecturer in archeology at the University of Brighton in England. Eating animals has always been preferable to eating people, in part because humans have less meat on their bodies than creatures like cows or mammoths. But when animals became scarce because of disease, weather or competition, people turned to them, Cole said.

Jackie’s ostracism from the group before her death may have made it easier to emotionally sit through the act of eating her, says Cole (who doesn’t watch the show). “Because he’s no longer seen as a full member of the group, their empathy goes down,” he says.

Maybe in a month (judging by the length of Shauna’s pregnancy) the team will be hungry again. We know that the team will spend 19 months in the desert, which leaves another 10 months between the meal made from Javi in ​​the season finale and their faraway rescue.

The scary science behind real cannibalism

So how much food can the human body provide? Cole’s 2017 article Natural science reportsOne who studies cannibalism in the Paleolithic era and examines how many calories this practice provides. Cole analyzed the total chemical breakdown of the human body and calculated that the skeletal muscle of a Paleolithic man contained 32,375 calories. Adding organs, skin, brains and other body parts consumed in a survival situation increases the number to about 125,822 calories.

A standard Paleolithic man in Cole’s study weighed only 110 pounds, and the average weight of a 17-year-old girl at the time yellow jackets According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 1990s created universe weighed 137 pounds. Of course, starvation can lead to significant weight loss, the amount of which can vary greatly from person to person due to complex metabolic factors. Some data on previously healthy fasting people suggest that serious medical problems begin when they lose about 18% of their body weight; While some Yellow Jackets cross that line, using it as an approximation brings them down to 112 pounds each. Therefore, the average Yellow Jacket (most of whom are high school students) produces about 128,109 edible calories. Because Travis and Coach Ben, the two survivors, are both male, they use the CDC’s average weight for a 17-year-old boy and male, giving them about 149,843 and 161,796 calories, respectively. then in his twenties. and the same price for starvation weight loss.

Learn more: How wild yellow jackets The Season 2 finale marks a wild ride

The worst-case scenario is that only Travis and the six girls we grew up with—Shauna, Natalie, Tysa, Van, Lottie, and Misty—will survive, giving them four more Yellow Jackets and Coach Ben to eat for 10 months. total calorie count is 674,235.

Wild diet of yellow jackets

Sydney Daly, a team nutritionist at the University of Michigan (who has never seen yellow jackets), says that even athletes with high metabolisms “can survive for quite some time on very little food.” Yellow jackets need more water. Although the team consumed about 2,000 calories a day in New Jersey, about 800 people could keep them alive, he said. “But if you don’t have the right amount of certain nutrients, you can have very serious health problems,” Daly says. Also, after so many months, they all lose weight and are loose.

We didn’t see yellow jackets eating a lot of forage plants, not weak bran soup. But the fact that they’re still alive after nine months in the wild, not to mention healthy enough to run and try to chase each other, probably means they’re on their trail. something it’s not meat. “Eating meat strictly, whether it’s human flesh or animal flesh, can cause a lot of problems,” Daley says, primarily “really horrible gut problems.” Assuming that our survivors get about 100 calories a day from things like berries, ferns, and loin soup, that puts their long-term survival needs after these foods at 700 a day.

So, assuming that the number of individuals sharing each caloric load decreases by one with each hunt (and they only kill one teammate at a time), this means that seven living yellow jackets could last about 109 days on a diet of teammates and a small amount of forage. . But that’s a little over three months, and they still have 10 months to go into the desert. In fact, according to our calculations, only two yellow jackets survived to save in this diet, even though they reduced the sharing by keeping Ben and Travis last.

How will the show support the yellow jackets in the remaining months? When the snow melts and the animals return to summer, stranded teammates can resume normal hunting. Or perhaps other surprises await you in the wilderness.

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