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Nutritional aspects of cannibalism and other pieces of odd research win Ig Nobel prizes

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 14 September 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3926
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York, USA

Cannibalism isn’t very nutritious, roller coasters can remove kidney stones, self colonoscopy is a useful idea, postage stamps can evaluate nocturnal penile erections, human saliva is a good cleaning agent, and other surprising discoveries won Ig Nobel Awards last night at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Ig Nobels are for research that first makes people laugh and then makes them think. They are given annually by the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research, the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students. The awards were presented before an audience of 1100 cheering, paper aeroplane throwing spectators.

Cannibalism is not an efficient way of getting nutrients, said James Cole, principal lecturer in archaeology at the University of Brighton, who won the Ig Nobel for nutrition. He told The BMJ that he wanted to better understand why humans sometimes eat their fellows. Studies of bones from the paleolithic age showed that the human body is not …

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