Ludicrous as it may have sounded to me at the time, I did promise to go back and do a little more research. Here’s what I discovered:
Many natural foods such as apples and pears, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions, whole grains, and certain dairy products all can contribute to your own personal ‘Farty Party!’ This is because many of these foods contain fiber, sugars and starches your body isn’t going to easily digest.
Now, we know cavemen didn’t eat much ice cream, but they were foragers, which means they knew the plants and seeds they could safely eat, and plants do contain fiber, sugars, and starches. This also means, unless their digestive tract was entirely different than ours, these sugary, fibrous, starchy, fart-making foods made caveman fart.
Interestingly enough, many foods in the meat group cause less gas in the digestive tract than plant foods, and cavemen hunted. Furthermore, we know many primitive people depended on, and migrated with, certain animals so they could always have a fresh supply of protein. But, meat alone isn’t going to keep people healthy enough to survive in the wild. For a month or two, maybe. For their whole thirty-year lives, no way!
Farts created through digestion actually happen as partially digested food travels into the large intestine. That’s where bacteria start working at it, making carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane. It’s natural! But lots of farts happen just by swallowing small amounts of air. This occurs pretty much every time you swallow. That air isn’t going to stay inside you for long though. Our bodies make sure of that! It’s going to go out one end or the other. I can probably point out the likeliness that most cavemen swallowed food and water, at least from time to time.
Common knowledge, and maybe owning a dog, lets us know that humans aren’t the only animals that pass the gas. Many reptiles like snakes and turtles fart, and I guess they’re pretty stinky. Some fish, like herring and sand sharks fart. The beaded lacewing butterfly, in the larval stage, actually uses its farts to stun its termite prey! Strangely enough, Termites might be the most fart-happy animal on earth and could be contributing to global warming! Insect fart wars! Birds, on the other hand, don’t have enough time to make farts! Apparently, their digestive tract is too short to build up much gas, and they don’t use the same kind of gas forming digestive bacteria that are in many farting animals. Sorry birds… Needless to say, many animals, who have been on Earth a long time, fart, and they fart a lot!
So, to my nurse friend Sabrina, thank you for lively conversation! I think cavemen fart-quantities, like all homo sapiens, and homo erectus, and homo whatever, depend on diet and individual chemical makeup. I don’t think our digestive tracts are so far removed from prehistoric times that we are the ‘farting generation’ of our species. After researching farts again, I believe, and will continue to believe, in aliens, ghosts, and caveman farts.