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geophagy

Syllabification: ge·oph·a·gy
Pronunciation: /jēˈäfəjē
 
/

Definition of geophagy in English:

noun

The practice of eating earth, especially chalk or clay in famine-stricken regions.
Example sentences
  • For many years, parrots and macaws had been observed on the river banks in the Amazonian forests of Peru biting off and swallowing chunks of orange clay - a practice known as geophagy.
  • Howler monkeys are well known to engage in geophagy, or earth eating, though the reason they do it remains unclear.
  • Mineral supplementation is usually postulated as the purpose of this behavior, and most geophagy by G. agassizii is on calcium-rich substrates by adult females.

Origin

mid 19th century: from geo- 'earth' + Greek phagia 'eating, feeding' (from phagein 'eat').

Definition of geophagy in:

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