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Osteophagia

📸 by @petergeraerdts

Osteophagy is the practice in which animals, usually herbivores, consume bones. Most vegetation around the world lacks sufficient amounts of phosphate.

Phosphorus is an essential mineral for all animals, as it plays a major role in the formation of the skeletal system, and is necessary for many biological processes including: energy metabolism, protein synthesis, cell signaling, and lactation.

It has been suggested that osteophagy is an innate behavior that allows animals to supplement their phosphorus and calcium uptake in order to avoid the costly effects of deficiencies in these minerals.