The practice of eating earth, especially chalk or clay in famine-stricken regions.
- 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.
Mid 19th century: from geo- 'earth' + Greek phagia 'eating, feeding' (from phagein 'eat').
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