Top 10 Mind-Blowers: Babies and Toddlers

Babies Have Ghoulish Appetites
Stanislav Pobytov/Getty

Babies and toddlers are known to be picky eaters. Oh there are exceptions to the rule, but mostly they live in a different sense world when it comes to food. What would they eat if left to their own devices?

Well, according to a notable 1939 study, they'd probably gorge themselves on a ghoulish feast of brains and bone marrow.

Or at least that's what Clara Davis found in her famous study of self-selecting diet among orphanage babies. The test subjects were given the choice of various foods including fresh fruits, veggies, dairy, eggs, chicken, beef and a smattering of organ meats. They didn't pass up the brains - and bone marrow was the hands-down favorite.

Of course the Davis study is hardly bulletproof. You'll see it criticized as "largely a construct of assertions without evidence" while others point to some of its ideas in support of baby-led weaning.

"Gulp" author Mary Roach also points to a study from psychologist Paul Rozin that found children aged 16-29 months ate stuff like ketchup-laden cookies, dish soap and fake (but edible) dog poo in rather high percentages. At that age they haven't absorbed their parents' food prejudices yet.

Either way, gross.

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.