For too many generations, our race has been sadly limited in its food choices. Our inability to process lignin and cellulose is particularly problematic. This inability has drastically limited the amount of nutrients we are able to absorb from foods such as grass and leaves. Given the abundance of these foods, an ability to process lignin and cellulose would be very beneficial to our species and go far to alleviating hunger, especially in places where other kinds of food are not readily available.
A new procedure developed by Cincinnati surgeon Linda R. Bovanizer involving the implantation of extra artificial stomachs in the human abdomen solves this problem. Imitating the stomachic arrangement of ruminants such as cows, giraffes, and kangaroos, the stomach implants will contain a carefully selected mix of bacteria, protozoans, and fungi. These residents will enable the recipients of the stomach transplants to nourish themselves with grass, leaves, twigs, hay, straw, tree bark, and other similar materials.
“This new technology,” says Bovanizer, “will open new food horizons for the human race. Where now you see the struggling homeowner wearily pushing the lawnmower, we will soon see the entire family nourishing itself by grazing on the front lawn.”
Chewing cud can, however, lead to some potentially negative side-effects. The digestion of lignin is a potent cause of uncomfortable and socially embarrassing flatulance. Other unpleasant effects include an enlarged abdomen, increased thirst, and green stained teeth. (Bovanizer hopes that, as stomach implants become widespread, green teeth may become a fashion statement.) Furthermore, some environmental activist are concerned that the widespread employment of this procedure may lead to a significant increase in the production of methane, which is a potent contributor to global warming.
Public domain image from Gray’s Anatomy, available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Stomach#mediaviewer/File:Gray1050-stomach.png