One of the more horrible ways to go

There’s a reason, I guess, that my wife brings me a big bowl of fiber every morning. I think she prefers that to having to pluck the legs off grasshoppers.

A man who lived in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas sometime between 1,000 and 1,400 years ago may have died from a horrible case of constipation, according to a study of his mummified remains.

And during the painful months just prior to his death, he ate mainly grasshoppers, the study researchers found.

Apparently, Chagas disease, which is caused by a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, had blocked up the man’s gastrointestinal system. That blockage caused his colon to swell to about six times its normal size — a condition called “megacolon.” The man was unable to digest foods properly and gradually became malnourished, scientists found. The condition would have made it difficult for the man to walk or even eat on his own. The researchers think that in the last two to three months of his life — either family or members of his community — helped the man eat by feeding him grasshoppers whose legs had been removed.

Ugh. What a miserable way to go.


  1. Snarki, child of Loki says

    In TEXAS, a disease caused by a parasite called “Trypanosoma CRUZI“, resulting in someone being full of shit?

    Yeah, sounds tots plausible. Inevitable, even.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    Yeah, that must have been awful. Getting picked up by some giant, having your legs pulled off one at a time while you watch, helpless, and then being lifted, legless, and watching those horrible teeth coming down…

    Oh, you meant the guy. Sure, him too.

  3. lochaber says

    I think I’ve heard that you are supposed to pull the legs off because there is too much of a chance of them sticking in the throat, with the spikes/barbs and all. And most of the nutrients/calories are in the body/abdomen, the legs are mostly chitin, and have a trivial nutrient contribution.

    I think you are also supposed to pull off the head (which maybe takes the stomach with it?), but this may be less easy to discern.