Did Carolus Linnaeus (The Father Of Modern Taxonomy) Say That Human Beings Are Frugivores?

“To say that humans have the anatomical structure of an omnivore is an egregiously inaccurate statement. The great taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus, (1707-1778), a Swedish naturalist and botanist who established the modern scientific method of classifying plants and animals, classified humans not as carnivores, not as omnivores, nor even as herbivores, but as frugivores. Linnaeus writes: “Man’s structure, internal and external compared with that of the other animals, shows that fruit and succulent vegetables are his natural food.”

Have you ever come across this quote? For those who support and follow a fruit based diet, it certainly seems encouraging. It is alluring to believe that there was a time in the not so distant past when this idea was more commonly held.

If you have come across this quotation, did you ever wonder if it was accurate? Do you stop to try to find where it came from?

I must admit, I have probably quoted this comment myself a few times when talking about the idea that humans should really be seen as frugivorous primates, similar to the other apes that are closest in nature to us.

Over the years, I have gradually grown more sceptical about the sources of the information I am sharing and I realised I wanted to be much more rigorous with evidence I was bringing. So I decided to see if I could find the source of this quotation.

I contacted the Linnaen Society in London.

Here is a little about the Society from it’s own website:

“The Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest active society devoted to natural history. Founded in 1788 by Sir James Edward Smith (1759–1828), who was its first President, the Society takes its name from the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) whose botanical, zoological and library collections have been in our keeping since 1829. “

Who was Linnaeus anyway and why is he of importance to this topic?

From Wikipedia:

“Carl Linnaeus (23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement as Carl von Linné, was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms. He is known as the “father of modern taxonomy“. “

By taxonomy we mean the classification of organisms into different categories. To this day, in botany and zoology the abbreviation L. is used to show that Linnaeus was the authority for the name of that species. He coined the phrase “homo sapiens” for humans.

If he was to have classified humans as frugivores, then this would certainly be worth taking seriously.

I contacted the society and was surprised and delighted to receive a very quick reply from Will Beharrell, a Librarian at the Linnaen Society. He replied:

“Thank you for your enquiry.

This is a bit of a knotty one, and it will probably take me a few days to follow up. I’ll try to get back to you early next week. I hope that’s alright.”

I waited patiently until receiving this reply:

“Having consulted with colleagues here at the Society and in Uppsala, Sweden, the consensus is that we’re unable to identify the source of this quotation, and so cannot safely attribute it to Carl Linnaeus.

One thing we can say fairly conclusively is that it cannot be a direct quotation. Linnaeus lived in Sweden in the 18th century, and virtually all his published and unpublished works are written in either Swedish or Latin. “

So it is not a direct quote but could it be some kind of translation?

Will went on:

“That of course leaves the possibility that the quotation is an English translation of something Linnaeus said, but here we’ve only been able to make limited progress. The main source of Linnaeus’ thinking on the subject of diet and nutrition is a manuscript, unpublished in Linnaeus’ lifetime, entitled Diaeta Naturalis. Linnaeus wrote it in 1733, when still a young man, having lately returned from a journey among the Sami people of northern Sweden where he was greatly inspired by what he saw as their healthy way of life.

In this manuscript Linnaeus makes several pronouncements on the benefit of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables which resemble this quote, but only in sentiment and not—so far as we’ve been able to ascertain—in particular phrasing. In the Diaeta, which is structured as a series of 136 maxims, Linnaeus says, variously, “Fructus homini optimum pabulum” (“Fruit is the best fodder for man”, Diaeta naturalis, ed. Arvid HJ. Uggla, Almquist, & Wiksells, 1958—p.150), and also “Cibus maxime naturalis e vegetabilibus desumitur” (“The most natural food is gathered from vegetables”, p.148), but then earlier he says “Optima esculenta sunt fructus atque carnia animalium assata vel cocta proprioque jusculo commesta” (“The best foods are fruits and animal flesh roasted in their own juices”, p.75). On that same page Linnaeus also makes reference to the teeth of “Fructivores”: “Fructivori: 6 (!) utrinqve incisores, 2 canini, plures molares, ut simia, homo“ (p.75). The last three words suggest he includes man and monkeys in this fructivorous “class“, but it’s clear from the rest of the quotation that this cannot be an exclusive or obligate diet. Generally, this idea is poorly articulated, and the manuscript—messy and in a mixture of languages—is clearly a work in progress.”

So where did this quotation come from? Here is what Will found:

“The earliest instance I’ve been able to find of the exact quotation you gave me is an online article dated 2008, “Answers about the Vegan lifestyle

in New York” by a man named Rynn Berry, a US vegetarian activist and writer of historical biographies of “famous vegetarians”. My suspicion is that Berry—assuming he didn’t just fabricate the quote—is loosely paraphrasing some of Linnaeus’ sentiments in Diaeta Naturalis (especially the maxim from page 75 reproduced above). Whether by editorial oversight, dishonesty, or the distortion of time and memory, this paraphrase has ended up in quotation marks and is now frequently adduced online as evidence of Linnaeus’ support for a vegetarian diet.

As I hope the excerpts from Diaeta make clear, this supposition is not safe: Linnaeus’ views on human diet are ambiguously—sometimes contradictorily— articulated, and the use of this manuscript to argue for his views one way or the other is problematic. “

I further asked if Linnaes had ever categorised humans into any classification such as carnivore, omnivore, frugivore etc. Will replied:

“So terms like carnivore, herbivore are descriptions of behaviour rather than taxonomic categories. Linnaeus makes references to the diets of animals in his main work of classification, Systema Naturae, but he doesn’t arrange them into groups according to diet. The reasons for this are self-evident: eagles and bears are both carnivorous, but clearly belong to different taxa; meanwhile a class like mammalia contains animals that are herbivorous, carnivorous, and everything in between.

In Diaeta Naturalis Linnaeus does seem to be toying with a dietary classification: he creates categories for “Carnivori”, “Radivori” (root-eating), “Phytivori”  (plant-eating), “ruminant”, and “Fructivori” (fruit-eating, in which he places humans), but this is incredibly sketchy and the idea doesn’t seem to have been followed up (the manuscript languished unpublished for 200 years). If anything, Linnaeus seems to be making a classification based on observations of teeth and dentition as much as diet—the rest of the passage is all a description of animal teeth.”

He added one extra comment to correct this stating that:

“When I say that terms like carnivore, herbivore, etc aren’t taxonomic groups, I should make clear they weren’t taxonomic groups according to Linnaeus.”

What can we conclude from this information?

It would appear to me that the original quotation is not one that we can safely attribute to Linnaeus and those who wish to promote the idea of humans as frugivores should probably not rely on it heavily as a form of evidence.

It would seem that Linnaeus’s ideas on the subject were much less set in stone than this quotation seems to suggest.

What can we say for sure that Linnaeus said on this topic?

He certainly stated this phrase:

Fructus homini optimum pabulum” (“Fruit is the best fodder for man”, from Diaeta naturalis)

and also:

The most natural food is gathered from vegetables”

But followed this up with this phrase:

“Optima esculenta sunt fructus atque carnia animalium assata vel cocta proprioque jusculo commesta” (“The best foods are fruits and animal flesh roasted in their own juices”, p.75)

He may have been working on the idea of making a “fructivore” class which humans would have been added to due to our dentition but it appears that this work was not complete and remained unpublished.

It is safe to say that Carolus Linnaeus can not be seen as a clear supporter of the idea that human beings are frugivores and should eat a fruit based diet.

Rynn Berry who is the main originator of this quote passed away in 2014. I am in the process of making attempts to find out where he may have got this quote from but for now we should assume that a mistake has been made.

90. Peter Csere – Founder Of Terra Frutis And Fruit Haven Eco Villages

Peter Csere is the co founder of the Terra Frutis eco village and the Fruit Haven eco village. Both of these are vegan and fruit based communities based in Ecuador. He is also helps to run the Amazon Fruit Festival that takes place in January each year.

Check out http://www.terrafrutis.com or http://www.fruithaven.org for information about the communities.

For information about Amazon Fruit Fest go here:

Or you can message Peter at peter.csere@protonmail.com

Peter’s personal website: http://www.yourbrainonfruit.com

Subscribe to the Love Fruit Newsletter here: http://bit.ly/lovefruitnewsletter

00:00 Introduction

02:36 Did you grow up with permaculture or veganism in your background?

04:08 When did you start making changes to your diet and lifestyle?

05:09 Where you originally looking into veganism or other diets also?

06:38 When did you start to go towards a vegan diet?

07:17 Did you learn about raw veganism quickly after going vegan?

08:18 How did you find out about 30BananasADay.Com and how did you get involved?

10:17 Did you notice a difference between raw vegan and vegan?

11:11 Many people were thrown off of 30BAD, what did you think about what when on in that website?

12:44 Was it on 30BAD that you had the original conversations about trying to buy land and growing fruit?

13:41 How did Terra Frutis come about?

15:57 A lot of intentional communities do not last. What have been the challenges of creating this community and how did you overcome them?

18:12 Many people would think you can just find land, invite people and everything will work out. What is the reality?

19:39 Tell us more about this part of the world…

21:30 Let’s talk about some of the wild life in this area

22:29 How many trees and types of fruit do you have growing here?

24:19 How can people find out more about Terra Frutis and Fruit Haven and find out more?

25:35 A warning for those who are investing into buying land in intentional communities

26:25 What is the difference between Terra Frutis and Fruit Haven?

28:15 What are the benefits to living here and living in community like this?

28:57 Are there any downsides to living here?

29:48 Do you feel there are psychological benefits to living in nature and around fruit trees?

30:42 How did the Amazon Fruit Fest start?

33:32 What do the activities of the festival include?

34:40 Is the festival a good way to visit for those who may wish to purchase land?

35:23 Tell us about the realities of buying a plot here and developing it

37:35 Tell us about your own piece of land and what you have done with it

38:35 For people considering coming here, what type of comomon principles that will they have to fit in with?

39:23 What are your plans for the future?

40:30 How can people contact you or the communities?

87. Lena Ropp – Founder Of @PureVeganFood

Lena Ropp is a Founder of PureVeganFood, a health & wellness brand that advocates nourishment for the mind, body, and soul by living life at the highest vibrations. Lena is a Plant-Based Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Stylist, Healthy Living Educator, Author, and Social media influencer based in Encinitas, California.

Lena creates daily delicious, high vibe plant-based meals and desserts by using the purest, wholesome ingredients and is passionate about spreading awareness for the beauty of a plant-based lifestyle.

Learn more about the Love Fruit Podcast and UK Fruitfest here:


All episodes can be watched on Youtube here: http://bit.ly/watchlovefruit

All episodes can be listened to here: http://bit.ly/lovefruitpodcast

86. Frank Huarcaya- Fruit Based Entrepreneur

In his own words, Frank says:

“Hi everyone its Frank. Ive been fruit based for 8 years. Elimated my acne, and gained a sense of purpose through eating primarily fruit.

Currently I am practicing other aspects that also make up our overall health. Such as discilpline, positive routines, wealth attraction, etc.

I post regularly on IG @Fruitful.Vida”

Learn more about the Love Fruit Podcast and UK Fruitfest here:

Start Here

All episodes can be watched on Youtube here: http://bit.ly/watchlovefruit

All episodes can be listened to here: http://bit.ly/lovefruitpodcast

80. Joe Alexander “Blatant Raw Foodist Propaganda”

A number of years ago, closer to the start of my quest to wisdom on the raw vegan lifestyle, I picked up a book called “Blatant Raw Foodist Propaganda”.

I must admit, I often go against the old axiom of never to judge a book by it’s cover.  Knowing nothing about this book and simply being grabbed by the comedic title I chose to give it a shot.

The book was a little different to other raw food books I had read, but was full of passion and intensity about the raw food lifestyle.  The author spoke about how the diet had changed his health and even made his art work come alive.

I remember taking the book to the Fresh Foods Festival in Denmark and as I read it many people were interested in the book.  I passed it on to an Israeli friend, Ran Antebi.  I asked him to pass it on when he finished it.  Perhaps it is still travelling around Israeli somewhere, touching the lives of all who open it’s pages.

I had never seen or heard of the the author, Joe Alexander, at any raw vegan event or gathering and certainly it appeared he has no presence online.  I found a profile on facebook but received no reply to my message.  I believe I even tried to phone him one time to no avail.

I gave up on contacting him for an interview until my friend Shari told me she was in touch with him and we arranged an interview.  This interview has been published today and you can watch and listen here:


You may find that his style of raw foodism is a little different that what you may come across in many of our interviews.  I don’t necessarily recommend his particular version of the diet, but I love to hear the various stories of raw food people and share those on the podcast.

I enjoyed the interview and hope you do too!

Stay fruity,

Ronnie Smith
UK Fruitfest

P.S For a limited time, get my book “The Raw Food Lifestyle 101” with 6 additional bonuses: http://bit.ly/ronnie101

79. Freelee The Banana Girl

Freelee the Bananagirl (Leanne Ratcliffe) is an Australian YouTube personality, personal trainer, weight loss expert, vegan activist and author. Freelee has been vegan for over 12 years and is one of the most influential vegans of our time. Freelee is the Author of the popular ebooks: The Raw Till 4 Diet (which went viral in 2016), Go Fruit Yourself in 2014 and most recently in 2019, My Naked Lunchbox.

In 2009 she created the legendary raw vegan forum 30bananasaday.com which along with her videos was a huge part in a shift in the raw food community towards a fruit based diet. This has now changed to thefrugivorediet.com.

Freelee is a Weight Loss Expert and the leading authority in women’s permanent weight loss on YouTube. She has lost over 40lbs and maintained for 10 yrs. She has helped countless women lose weight but most importantly KEEP IT OFF. In her videos she ‘weighs in’ on unhealthy fattening diets pushed by uneducated creators.

Freelee created her YouTube channel Freelee The BananaGirl back in 2007 where she talks about her diet, exercise and making positive changes in her lifestyle. Her channel was one of the first ethical vegan channels on YouTube and has accumulated over 780 thousand subscribers and 330 million views since its creation in 2007, making it one of the most viewed ethical vegan channels of all time.

Subscribe to the Love Fruit Newsletter here:

Find out more about UK Fruitfest here: http://www.fruitfest.co.uk

75. Greg Xavier Raw Vegan Chef, TV Presenter and Wim Hof Instructor

Greg Xavier is a qualified Plant Based Nutritionist, Certified Raw Foods Chef, and founder of Plant Based Ireland. He has followed a Plant Based diet for 10 years and has taught nutrition & culinary skills in both Ireland & Bali, Indonesia. A Fruit Fest veteran, Greg first attended the UK Fruitfest in 2017 and has been to Woodstock and the inaugural Canada Fruit Festival. Along side his Plant Based Expertise, Greg is also one of only 500 qualified Wim Hof Method Instructors in the World, having trained directly with Wim Hof himself after meeting on a winter expedition in 2017 in Poland. In 2019 he was a Co-Presenter on the Irish Television Series ‘My Yellow Brick Road’, where he helped participants transform their lives through incorporating more whole foods, fruits and vegetables into their lives. Greg is Ireland’s top expert on Plant Based living Subscribe for updates: http://www.fruitfest.co.uk

60. Della Upsher Interview

Today’s guest is Della Upsher. Della did not start to change to a raw vegan diet until she was 59 years old. By that time she had already underwent a triple by pass surgery.

She has lost weight and regained her fitness and energy on a raw vegan diet.

You can learn more from her by joining her facebook group “To Fruity Health”

Subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about the podact: http://www.fruitfest.co.uk

59. EFT Therapist, Professional Violinist and Raw Vegan Jane Sinclair

Welcome to the Love Fruit podcast. Subscribe to the newsletter to keep updated for future episodes here: http://www.fruitfest.co.uk

In this episode we interview Jane Sinclair. Jane is a professional violinist and an EFT practitioner. She has been on her raw vegan path for around 8 years and has attended the UK Fruitfest 6 times!

In this episode you will learn about how Jane used EFT to help her deal with severe stage fright. It has been so effective that she can deliver talks in front of audiences when before she would have found this too nerve wracking. You will also hear about some of her experiences at the UK Fruitfest.

Thank you for following the podcast! Feel free to email us with your questions/suggestion: info@fruitfest.co.uk

53. Raw and Radiant Weightloss With Ashley Chong

Instead of following advice from doctors who were telling her to restrict calories, eat meat, and take a weight-loss drug, Ashley Chong did the exact opposite. She went 100% raw vegan overnight and it changed her life. She ended up losing about 125 lbs in less than a year and overcome multiple health issues.

Ashley’s weight-loss story has been recognized and shared a multitude of times over various social media platforms such as ForksOverKnives.com, Mercy for Animals and People magazine and so much more.

You can follow Ashley @rawandradiant on instagram

Listen to the Love Fruit podcast here: http://bit.ly/lovefruitpodcast

Subscribe to the Love Fruit Newsletter: http://www.fruitfest.co.uk