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The Science Behind Cannibalism on Yellowjackets

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TeaTeenage girls’ brashness can often feel like life-or-death—but inside yellow jacket, Showtime’s hit series about a New Jersey girls’ soccer team that gets trapped in the woods, that’s really it. Starving, freezing, and with no animals to hunt and nothing else to lose, the teenagers have slowly turned from classmates to cannibals.

It’s Not An Unrealistic Scenario – The Show’s Producers Have Referenced It real life disasters which it inspired, many of whom turned to cannibalism. But with a dozen mouths to feed, it seems like an unsustainable dietary strategy for the show’s survivors. With the show’s producers planning three more seasons, viewers are left to wonder: How can any of the Yellowjackets live up to their rescue?

what do we know so far about yellow jacket This time

It seems that the team’s plane crashes in the spring, and they easily overcome it by hunting animals in the summer. But once the snow starts, the Yellowjackets—now a different team consisting of their assistant coach Ben and their head coach’s two sons, Travis and Javi—run out of food. After queen bee Jackie learns that her best friend Shauna slept with her boyfriend (and became pregnant), but fails to turn the group against her, Jackie retreats alone into the cold, where she finds a In the cold it goes to the mouth of death. early-winter snow, Jackie became the first team member in late November after nearly two months of starving the team (and hoarding her body).

Sheer desperation is what prompted the first group to cross the line into eating their own, given what we know of a long history of human cannibalism. “We’ve seen cut marks and teeth marks on bones from about a million years ago,” says James Cole, a leading lecturer in archeology at the University of Brighton in England. Eating animals has always been preferable to eating people, as humans have less meat on their frames than creatures like cows or mammoths. But when animals were scarce because of disease, weather or competition, people resorted to it, Cole says.

Cole (who doesn’t watch the show) says that Jackie’s exclusion from the group before her death may have made her account easier for her to sit down emotionally. “Because she is no longer seen as an integral member of the group, their empathy diminishes,” he says.

Maybe a month later (given the length of Shauna’s pregnancy), the team is desperately hungry again. Because we know the team ultimately spends 19 months in the jungle, leaving another 10 months between the meal Javi made and their distant rescue in the season finale.

The terrifying science behind real-life cannibalism

So how much sustenance can a human body provide? Cole’s 2017 paper published in Nature Scientific Reports, which explores cannibalism in the Paleolithic and how many calories the practice likely yielded, provides some clues. Cole analyzed the total chemical breakdown of the human body and estimated that the skeletal muscle of a Paleolithic human would contain 32,375 calories. Adding in the organs, skin, marrow, and other body parts would add up to about 125,822 calories likely to be consumed in a survival situation.

Cole’s research found the standard Paleolithic man weighed just 110 pounds, while the average weight of a 17-year-old girl yellow jacket The universe—set in the ’90s—according to 137 pounds Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Of course, starvation can cause significant weight loss, the amount of which can vary greatly from person to person, depending on the complex. metabolism factors, some data on former healthy hunger strikers suggest that serious medical problems begin when about 18% of body weight is lost; Although some Yellowjackets have certainly crossed this line, using it as an approximation brings them down to 112 pounds. Therefore, the average yellowjacket (most of whom are high school seniors) would receive approximately 128,109 food calories. Because Travis and Coach Ben, the two other survivors, are both men, they’ll get more calories: about 149,843 and 161,796 respectively, using the CDC’s average weight for a 17-year-old boy and a man in his late 20s at the time. And the same estimate of starvation-induced weight loss.

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Worst-case scenario, only Travis and the six girls we see as adults—Shauna, Natalie, Taissa, Van, Lottie, and Misty—survive, which puts them around four other Yellowjackets and Coach Ben in 10 months. Degi to eat, for a total calorie count of 674,235.

Wilderness Diet of Yellowjackets

Sidney Daly, a team performance dietitian at the University of Michigan (who has not seen yellow jacket), says that even athletes with high metabolic rates “can survive for considerable periods of time on very little food.” Water, which is in the Yellowjacket, is much more essential. While the team would consume about 2,000 calories a day in New Jersey, a number closer to 800 or so could keep them in survival mode, she says. “But without the right amounts of certain nutrients, you can run into really serious health problems,” Daly says. Also, after so many months, all of them have lost weight and are walking on empty stomachs.

We haven’t observed that yellowjackets eat much wild vegetation other than some weak-sounding soup. But the fact that after nine months in the wild they’re all still alive, let alone healthy enough to run around and try to hunt each other, means they’re munching on in trace amounts. Some That is not meat. “Strictly eating meat, whether it’s human flesh or animal flesh, can cause a lot of distress,” says Daley, primarily “really horrible gut issues.” Assuming that our survivors are getting about 100 calories a day from things like berries, ferns, and belt soup, that’s about 700 snacks per day to meet their long-term survival needs.

So, assuming that the number of people who split their caloric load is reduced by each hunt (and that they’re only killing one teammate at a time), this means that seven surviving Yellowjackets are one Would be able to last about 109 days on the diet. their companions and meager food. But that’s just a little over three months, when they have another 10 months to go into the wild. In fact, according to our calculations, only two yellowjackets could have survived the rescue with this diet alone—and that’s if they cut down on sharing the last save Ben and Travis.

How will the show keep Yellowjacket going in the remaining months? When the snow melts and the animals return for the summer the trapped teammates can go back to hunting normal game. Or maybe there are more surprises in store in the woods.

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