Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Geophagy

Consumption of dirt, soil, gravel and small stones, sand, and/or clay; this is not an exclusive dietary category, but serves as a supplement to the main diet and is not detritivory (consumption of detritus and dirt as practiced by earthworms). An animal that does this is called a geophage. Geophagy is known for a number of primate species, including humans. It is well known for cattle and is believed to supply nutrients (primarily minerals) that the individual is missing. Adjectives: Geophagous, geophagic.

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