it comes from time to time in discussion with people regarding food. what i don't understand is that our closest relatives, the great apes, like chimps, bonobos etc. primarily eat fruits and leaves and than apes like chimps eat insects and very seldom eat meat, which has been noted to only about 1.4% (http://www.wildchimps.org/wcf/english/files/chimp4.htm), the same is true for other great apes too, which i think are loosely classified when it comes to their dietary habits.
So, my question is does eating just 1.4% meat makes us and great apes omnivores and than why don't we classify cats, who are true carnivores, as omnivores as i have seen vegan cats and cats foods do contain rice, wheat, corn etc?
sukhdeep, I guess omnivores can be healthy on a wide range of animal and plant food sources and the proportions can vary significantly. I think all species of wild cat will be almost 100% meat eaters. Wolves and other wild canines may supplement with a bit of grass chewing. I assume this is to get some additional nutrients. A dog I walk loves to chew grass (peanuts and cheese too). I think commercial dry pet foods are mostly based on plant proteins (soya probably?) with added meaty flavouring. The protein is carefully balanced in these foods and is different for cats and dogs. Dogs seem to prefer cooked human food over pet food. Maybe their tastes have evolved over the last few thousand years they've been with us. Chimpanzees are mostly vegetarian but hunting for smaller primates has been observed. I heard an interview with someone who tried to live for a lengthy period on the same food sources as chimpanzees. He said it was an abominable diet for humans. So much chewing for so little reward. He wrote the book on how cooking was crucially important to our evolution. Amylase in our saliva starts the digestion of carbohydrates and we produce five times as much as chimps do. This seemed to be reasonable evidence that cooked plant foods played a big role in our evolution. It was also suggested that this 'new' food source allowed us to be world beating long distance runners. This allowed us to chase down prey in lengthy hunts. I hope this is roughly correct as I'm too tired to google my 'facts'. Its 1:30 am here.