JCruelty to teenage girls can often feel like life and death, but in yellow jackets, Showtime’s hit series about a New Jersey women’s soccer team that gets stuck in the wild, it really is. Hungry, frozen, and with no animals to hunt and little else to lose, the teenagers slowly transformed from classmates to cannibals.
It’s not an unrealistic scenario – the show’s creators referenced the real life disaster who inspired him, many of which turned into cannibalism. But with a dozen mouths to feed, it seems like an unsustainable eating strategy for the show’s survivors. The show is the creators are planning three more seasonsso viewers wonder: how can one of the Yellowjackets stay alive until rescued?
What we know so far about the yellow jackets calendar
The team’s plane seems to crash in the spring, and they make it through the summer quite easily chasing the animals. But once it starts snowing, the Yellowjackets — now a different kind of team that includes their assistant coach Ben and their head coach’s two sons, Travis and Javi — run out of food. After Queen Bee Jackie finds out that her best friend Shauna slept with (and got pregnant by) her boyfriend, but fails to get the group to turn on her, Jackie retreats to the cold alone. , where she freezes to death in a early winter snow. Jackie becomes the first member of the team consumed near the end of November, after the team has been starving (and storing their bodies) for about two months.
Sheer desperation is what first drives the group to cross the line by eating one of their own, which matches what we know from the long history of human cannibalism. “We’ve seen cut marks and teeth marks on bones dating back about a million years,” says James Cole, senior lecturer in archeology at the University of Brighton in England. Eating animals has always been preferable to eating people, partly because humans have less meat on their bodies than creatures like cows or mammoths. But when animals were scarce, due to disease, weather or competition, people resorted to them, Cole says.
Jackie’s ostracism from the group before her death may have made the act of eating her easier to sit down emotionally, says Cole (who doesn’t watch the show). “Because she’s no longer seen as a full member of the group, their empathy is degraded,” he says.
Probably a month later (judging by the length of Shauna’s pregnancy), the team is desperately hungry again. Because we know the team ultimately spends 19 months in the desert, that leaves another 10 months between the meal they made of Javi in the season finale and their distant rescue.
The Terrifying Science Behind Actual Cannibalism
So how much food could a human body provide? Cole’s paper 2017 Posted in Nature Science Reports, which explores cannibalism in Paleolithic times and how many calories the practice would likely produce, offers some clues. Cole analyzed the total chemical breakdown of the human body and estimated that the skeletal muscle of a Paleolithic man would contain 32,375 calories. Adding organs, skin, marrow, and other body parts that would likely be consumed in a survival situation would increase the number by about 125,822 calories.
The standard Paleolithic man in Cole’s research weighed just 110 pounds, while the average weight of a 17-year-old girl during the yellow jackets universe – set in the 90s – weighed 137 pounds, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Of course, starvation can lead to significant weight loss, the amount of which can vary greatly from person to person depending on complex factors. metabolic factors. Some data on once healthy hunger strikers suggest that serious medical problems begin when approximately 18% of body weight has been lost; although some Yellowjackets have surely crossed that line, using it as an approximation brings them down to 112 pounds each. Therefore, the average Yellowjacket (most of whom are high school students) would produce about 128,109 edible calories. Because Travis and Coach Ben, two other survivors, are both male, they would give more calories: about 149,843 and 161,796 respectively, using CDC average weights for a 17-year-old boy and a man in the late twenties at that time. and the same estimate of weight loss due to starvation.
Learn more: How the savage yellow jackets Season 2 finale sets a wild path
The worst case scenario is that only Travis and the six girls we see grown up – Shauna, Natalie, Taissa, Van, Lottie and Misty – survive, which would give them about four more Yellowjackets and Coach Ben to eat for 10 months, for a total calorie count of 674,235.
The Wild Diet of the Yellowjackets
Sydney Daley, team performance dietitian at the University of Michigan (who has never seen yellow jackets), says that even athletes with high metabolic rates “can survive on very little food for quite some time.” Water, which the Yellowjackets have, is needed much more. While the team would likely be consuming around 2,000 calories a day in New Jersey, a number closer to around 800 could keep them in a survival situation, she says. “But without the right amount of certain nutrients, you could experience some very serious health issues,” Daley says. Also, after so many months, they have all lost weight and are running empty.
We haven’t seen the Yellowjackets eat much forage vegetation other than weak bran soup. But the fact that they’re all still alive after nine months in the wild, let alone healthy enough to run around and try to chase each other, probably means they’re chomping on traces of something it’s not meat. “Strictly eating meat, whether it’s human meat or animal meat, can cause a lot of distress,” Daley says, primarily “really horrible gut issues.” Assuming our survivors get about 100 calories a day from things like berries, ferns, and belt soup, that puts their long-term survival needs after those snacks at 700 a day.
So assuming the number of people sharing each calorie load decreases by one with each hunt (and they only ever kill one teammate at a time), that means the seven surviving Yellowjackets could last around 109 days with a diet of their teammates and meager foraged meals. But that’s just over three months, while they still have 10 months to go to the desert. In fact, by our calculations, only two Yellowjackets could survive to rescue on this diet alone, even if they minimize sharing by saving Ben and Travis for last.
How will the show support the Yellowjackets over the remaining months? Stuck teammates could resume normal game hunting when the snow melts and the animals return for the summer. Or maybe the wilderness has other surprises in store for you.
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