Frozen excrement cannot be used in making a knife, that is what anthropologist Metin Erin and his colleagues found out after conducting an experiment to determine if such a tool can be used in killing a dog.
Erin said he remembered the time when he was still in high school about another anthropologist named Wade Davis who told an intriguing story over the radio about an Inuit man who made a knife out of his frozen poop one winter. The said knife was used in killing a dog, whose rib cage was then used as a sled by the man.
|Frozen human excrement / Photo by: Michelle R. Bebber via Science Alert|
To prove if there was a grain of truth in the story, Erin decided to collect his own excrement. But before doing that he ate a high-protein diet similar to what Inuits regularly consumed, for eight days. He ate a lot of salmon, beef, and turkey. By the fourth day, he collected the “raw material” to be used in making the knife.
The poop was shaped into knives by hand or by ceramic mold and frozen at -20 degrees Celsius. Erin said he did everything possible to make the experiment a success, including keeping the knife cold, sharpening it with a metal file, and using the knife to cut cool hide instead of warm hide from a fresh kill.
|Human poop knife failed experiment / Photo by: Metin Eren via Science Alert|
The knife, sad to say, could not cut the hide, melted instead and left brown streaks on the hide. Despite his findings, Wade said the Inuit’s story is still being retold by some quarters, including the Arctic Institute, as if it really happened. Using unproven claims in supporting positive assumptions can have negative side effects, Wade claimed.
Wade said the problem is when an unconfirmed story is used in supporting a stance, one is already treading on a slippery slope. That is when other unsupported claims that are racist or problematic come in, he added.
|An old Inuit man / Photo by: Barni1 via Pixabay|