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#24806 - 03/26/01 06:28 PM Autophagy  
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I am very interested in snakes, and in reading my newly-acquired Complete Encyclopedia of Snakes, in the section about feeding habits of various species, I came across this most excellent word, which means "eating oneself" (I'll thank them what's inclined to the smuttier variety of posts to find another outlet for those impulses, unless you've got something really clever).

Apparently, on a few occasions, black rat snakes (and no other species, as far as the encyclopedists knew) have been found attempting to consume their own tails. One tried and failed, and then tried again and died in the attempt.

Can't think of too many creatures that could achieve this, but thought it was a great word.

Hyla


#24807 - 03/26/01 06:55 PM Re: Autophagy  

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hyla,

have you ever checked out the mythological Ouroboros, symbolizing the act of consuming oneself in order to sustain life? (hi, faldage!)

~b


#24808 - 03/26/01 07:00 PM Re: Autophagy  
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Who's the guy in "Oliver Twist" who keeps saying, "And if that's not true, I'll eat my head!"?


#24809 - 03/26/01 07:41 PM Re: Autophagy  
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Actualy, I have come across this word and idea before-- it has been used to define self canabalism-- from the gross-- picking ones nose, and eating it! to people who gnaw and bite their cuticles,(and swallow the bits of flesh,) or bite the insides of their mouths, or in other ways self consume.

Autophagy is not a sign of good mental health-- but some examples are more extreme and unhealth than others.


#24810 - 03/26/01 07:51 PM Re: Autophagy  
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And then of course, there is the limerick about
There was a young man from Nantucket...




#24811 - 03/26/01 08:02 PM Re: Autophagy  
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mythological Ouroboros

When I thought about posting this, it occurred to me to mention this connection, but in the heat of the moment while I was posting, I forgot (what if tsuwm had been reading about autophagy too? what if he beat me to it, again? oh wait - he would have known the word and simply continued reading).

In addition to the Ouroboros (or perhaps as a manifestation of it) there's the Midgard Serpent of Norse mythos, who wraps all the way around the earth and holds his tail in his mouth. As I recall the tale, at Ragnarok (the Norse Armageddon) the serpent bites Thor, who then kills him, but the serpent's poison then finishes off the thunder god.


#24812 - 03/26/01 08:05 PM Re: Autophagy  
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There was a young man from Nantucket...

Someone appears to have missed part of my original post:

(I'll thank them what's inclined to the smuttier variety of posts to find another outlet for those impulses, unless you've got something really clever)

addendum

In looking at this reply, and getting a private note or two on the matter, I fear I've come down a bit hard here. I just knew that a post about eating oneself would attract a few such comments (as they occured to me), and I thought I'd try to keep us on topic. If I've come across as prudish, aggressive, or otherwise unkind, it wasn't my intent, and in the future I'll rely on our duly-appointed gutter police.

#24813 - 03/26/01 08:41 PM Re: Midgard Serpent  
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The Midgard Serpent! That's who I was trying to think of when I made my Easter (What's a nice Christian holiday like you doing being named after a Germanic Goddess?) post. I suspect that the Midgard Serpent and Ouroboros are related, tracing back to some shamanic myth from the old days when we still remembered that we are animals. Do the Oz Aboriginals have a similar myth? I have some vague notion of an important serpent in the Dream Time.


#24814 - 03/26/01 09:04 PM Re: Autophagy  
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I`ve heard that some animals will chew off a limb to get out of a trap. I wonder if the same term would apply in that circumstance?


#24815 - 03/26/01 09:09 PM Re: Autophagy  
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Hyla Offline
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some animals will chew off a limb to get out of a trap

When chewing on oneself to escape, I believe it's outophagy.


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