Scientists try but fail to make a KNIFE from their own frozen faeces after an explorer claims Inuits use the technique in the Arctic

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  • Explorer Wade Davis told the apocryphal tale in his book ‘Shadows in the Sun’
  • The Inuit man supposedly used a faecal knife to butcher a dog to make a sled
  • A researcher ate an arctic diet and froze his excrement into a the shape of a knife
  • However the blade was unable to slice through pig hide and left ‘only streaks’

Scientists have tried but failed to make a viable knife from their own frozen faces — finding that the blade was unable to slice through pig hide and left 'only streaks'

Scientists have tried but failed to make a viable knife from their own frozen faces — finding that the blade was unable to slice through pig hide and left ‘only streaks’

The team tested an eye-raising account in National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis' book, 'Shadows in the Sun', of an Inuit who made a knife from frozen faces. Pictured, one of the researcher's hand-shaped knives

The team tested an eye-raising account in National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis’ book, ‘Shadows in the Sun’, of an Inuit who made a knife from frozen faces. Pictured, one of the researcher’s hand-shaped knives

The tale of the faecal knife was told to Dr Davis by Olayuk Narqitarvik, who claimed his grandfather was the man in question

The tale of the faecal knife was told to Dr Davis by Olayuk Narqitarvik, who claimed his grandfather was the man in question 

To make the shape of the blades, the researchers either pushed the excrement into ceramic knife-shaped moulds, or crafted the tools themselves with their hands

To make the shape of the blades, the researchers either pushed the excrement into ceramic knife-shaped moulds, or crafted the tools themselves with their hands

To put the story to the test, Kent State University anthropologists Metin Eren, Michelle R. Bebbera and their colleagues froze human faeces in knife-like shapes at temperatures of -20°C (-4°F) in a laboratory freezer

To put the story to the test, Kent State University anthropologists Metin Eren, Michelle R. Bebbera and their colleagues froze human faeces in knife-like shapes at temperatures of -20°C (-4°F) in a laboratory freezer

Immediately before the experiments, the knifed were removed from the freezer, sharpened with a metal file and then flash-frozen in dry ice at -50°C (-58°F)

Immediately before the experiments, the knifed were removed from the freezer, sharpened with a metal file and then flash-frozen in dry ice at -50°C (-58°F)

Immediately before the experiments, the knifed were removed from the freezer, sharpened with a metal file and then flash-frozen in dry ice at -50°C (-58°F)

Immediately before the experiments, the knifed were removed from the freezer, sharpened with a metal file and then flash-frozen in dry ice at -50°C (-58°F)

The researchers had acquired pig hide, muscle and tendon against which to test their knives — and began with an attempt to slice into the softer hide

The researchers had acquired pig hide, muscle and tendon against which to test their knives — and began with an attempt to slice into the softer hide

'Neither the “knife mould” samples, nor the “hand-shaped knives” could cut through hide,' the researchers wrote in their paper

‘Neither the “knife mould” samples, nor the “hand-shaped knives” could cut through hide,’ the researchers wrote in their paper

To make the shape of the blades, the researchers either pushed the excrement into ceramic knife-shaped moulds — pictured here, before firing, with the sharp stone blade used as the template for the tools — or crafted the tools themselves with their hands

To make the shape of the blades, the researchers either pushed the excrement into ceramic knife-shaped moulds — pictured here, before firing, with the sharp stone blade used as the template for the tools — or crafted the tools themselves with their hands

'For curiosity's sake, we tried to cut the subcutaneous fat on the underside of the hide,' the researchers said. 'With some difficulty, only the shallowest of slices could be produced, and the knife-edge still quickly melted and deteriorated'

‘For curiosity’s sake, we tried to cut the subcutaneous fat on the underside of the hide,’ the researchers said. ‘With some difficulty, only the shallowest of slices could be produced, and the knife-edge still quickly melted and deteriorated’

Scientists have tried but failed to make a knife from their own frozen faces after an explorer claimed that Inuits do it in the Arctic.

Their effort, however, did not succeed and the blade was unable to slice through pig hide, only deteriorating and leaving ‘streaks’.

The experiment tested an eyebrow-raising account in National Geographic explorer Wade Davis’ book, ‘Shadows in the Sun’.

Dr Davis recounts a tale of an Inuit man who, having had all of his tools confiscated, crafted a knife out his own frozen waste in order to escape his family.

In the story, he used the knife made of faeces to butcher a dog and used its skeletal remains to fashion a sled and make his getaway. 

The debunked tale had become one of the most popular ethnographic accounts of all time, one retold countless times in other books, documentaries and websites.

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To put the story to the test, Kent State University anthropologists Metin Eren, Michelle Bebbera and their colleagues froze human faeces in knife-like shapes at temperatures of -20°C (-4°F) in a laboratory freezer.

To produce faeces with an constitution that would have been authentic to Dr Davis’ tale, Dr Eren consumed an ‘Arctic diet’. 

For eight days he stuck to eating foods high in protein and fatty acids, but also including carbs, fruit and vegetables.

After five days, the team began routine daily collections of Dr Eren’s waste in order to provide the raw material to construct the knives. 

To make the shape of the blades, the researchers either pushed the excrement into ceramic knife-shaped moulds, or crafted the tools themselves with their hands.

Immediately before the experiments, the knives were removed from the freezer, sharpened with a metal file and then flash-frozen in dry ice at -50°C (-58°F).

‘There is a well known account of an old Inuit man who refused to move into a settlement.’

‘Over the objections of his family, he made plans to stay on the ice. To stop him, they took away all of his tools.’

‘So in the midst of a winter gale, he stepped out of their igloo, defecated, and honed the faeces into a frozen blade, which he sharpened with a spray of saliva.’

‘With the knife he killed a dog. 

‘Using its rib cage as a sled and its hide to harness another dog, he disappeared into the darkness.’  

 

 Source: Shadows in the Sun

The researchers had acquired pig hide, muscle and tendon against which to test their knives and began with an attempt to slice into the softer hide.

‘Neither the “knife mould” samples, nor the “hand-shaped knives” could cut through hide,’ the researchers wrote in their paper.

‘Despite the hide being cold from refrigeration, instead of slicing through it the knife-edge simply melted upon contact, leaving streaks of faecal matter.’ 

Next, the researchers decided to repeat the experiment with excrement provided instead by Dr Bebbera and with a more Western-style diet — including such foods as cheeseburgers, spaghetti and onion rings.

‘However, these knives also did not cut through the hide,’ the researchers wrote.

‘For curiosity’s sake, we tried to cut the subcutaneous fat on the underside of the hide,’ they added. With some difficulty, only the shallowest of slices could be produced, and the knife-edge still quickly melted and deteriorated.’

The full findings of the study were published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

To produce faeces with a constitution that would have been authentic to Dr Davis’ tale, Dr Eren consumed an Arctic diet — one rich in high protein and fatty acids, but also including carbs, fruit and vegetables — for eight days. 

The researchers also repeated the experiment with excrement provided instead by Dr Bebbera and with a more Western-style diet — including such foods as cheeseburgers, spaghetti and onion rings. 

METIN EREN’S ARCTIC DIET 

 Experimental day/time

Day 1 — 13:00

Day 1 — 16:00

Day 1 — 18:00

Day 2 — 09:00

Day 2 — 11:00

Day 2 — 19:00

Day 3 — 09:00

Day 3 — 12:00

Day 3 — 18:00

Day 4 — 09:00

Day 4 — 13:00

Day 4 — 16:00

Day 4 — 17:00

Day 5 — 09:00

Day 5 — 11:00

Day 5 — 14:00

Day 5 — 20:00

Day 6 — 08:00

Day 6 — 14:00

Day 6 — 18:00

Day 7 — 08:00

Day 7 — 09:00

Day 7 — 12:00

Day 7 — 13:00

Day 8 — 08:00 

 Food eaten

Eggs

Beef snack bites

Beef steak

Turkey snack bites

Beef steak

Salmon and beef fillets

Beef fillet

Beef snack bites

Salmon, risotto, broccolini

Beef salami

Applesauce

Turkey kielbasa

Turkey sausage

Macaroni and cheese

Chicken thighs

Chicken thighs

Angus beef meatballs

Turkey sausage

Salmon and perch fillets

 Faecal sample

Collected

Collected

Collected

Collected

Collected

Collected

MICHELLE BEBBERA’S WESTERN DIET  

 Experimental day/time

Day 1 — 07:00

Day 1 — 11:00

Day 1 — 17:00

Day 2 — 07:00

Day 2 — 19:00

Day 2 — 18:00

Day 3 —  07:00

 Food eaten

Yogurt

Lentils and rice

Spaghetti and meat sauce

Bagel and cream cheese

Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger and onion rings

 

 Faecal sample

Collected



Source By Breaking News Website | BreakingNews.WS