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Scavengers are animals that consume dead organisms that have died from causes other than
predation Predation is a biological interaction In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical env ...

predation
or have been killed by other predators. While scavenging generally refers to
carnivore A carnivore , meaning "meat eater" (Latin, ''caro'', genitive ''carnis'', meaning "meat" or "flesh" and ''vorare'' meaning "to devour"), is an organism, animal whose food and energy requirements derive solely from animal Tissue (biology), tissue ...
s feeding on
carrion Carrion (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...

carrion
, it is also a
herbivorous File:Land_Snail_radula_tracks.jpg#, 250px, Tracks made by terrestrial gastropods with their radulas, scraping green algae from a surface inside a greenhouse A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant mater ...

herbivorous
feeding behavior Feeding is the process by which organisms, typically animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotr ...

feeding behavior
. Scavengers play an important role in the
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syste ...

ecosystem
by consuming dead animal and plant material.
Decomposer Decomposers are Organism, organisms that break down dead or decaying organisms; they carry out decomposition, a process possible by only certain kingdoms, such as fungi. Like herbivores and predators, decomposers are heterotrophic, meaning that th ...
s and
detritivores are soil-dwelling detritivores. Detritivores (also known as detrivores, detritophages, detritus feeders, or detritus eaters) are heterotrophs that obtain nutrients by consuming detritus (decomposing plant and animal parts as well as feces). There ...
s complete this process, by consuming the remains left by scavengers. Scavengers aid in overcoming fluctuations of food resources in the environment. The process and rate of scavenging is affected by both
biotic Biotics describe living or once living components of a community; for example organisms, such as animals and plants. Biotic may refer to: *Life, the condition of living organisms *Biology, the study of life *Biotic material, which is derived from l ...
and abiotic factors, such as carcass size, habitat, temperature, and seasons.


Etymology

Scavenger is an alteration of ''scavager,'' from Middle English ''skawager'' meaning "
customs Vienna Convention road sign for customs Customs is an authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds every ...

customs
collector", from ''skawage'' meaning "customs", from Old North French ''escauwage'' meaning "inspection", from ''schauwer'' meaning "to inspect", of
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
origin; akin to
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
''scēawian'' and German ''schauen'' meaning "to look at", and modern English "show" (with
semantic drift Semantic change (also semantic shift, semantic progression, semantic development, or semantic drift) is a form of language change Language change is variation over time in a language A language is a structured system of communication us ...
).


Types of scavengers

Obligate scavenging is rare among vertebrates, due to the difficulty of finding enough carrion without expending too much energy. Well-known invertebrate scavengers of animal material include
burying beetle Burying beetles or sexton beetles, genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term m ...
s and
blowflies The Calliphoridae (commonly known as blow flies, blow-flies, carrion flies, bluebottles, greenbottles, or cluster flies) are a Family (biology), family of insects in the order Diptera, with 1,200 known species. The maggot larvae, often used as fi ...
, which are obligate scavengers, and
yellowjacket Yellowjacket or yellowjacket is the common name in North America for predatory social wasps of the genus, genera ''Vespula'' and ''Dolichovespula''. Members of these genera are known simply as "wasps" in other English-speaking countries. Most of ...

yellowjacket
s. Fly larvae are also common scavengers for organic materials at the bottom of freshwater bodies. For example, '' Tokunagayusurika akamusi'' is a species of midge fly whose larvae live as obligate scavengers at the bottom of lakes and whose adults almost never feed and only live up to a few weeks. Most scavenging animals are facultative scavengers that gain most of their food through other methods, especially
predation Predation is a biological interaction In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical env ...

predation
. Many large
carnivore A carnivore , meaning "meat eater" (Latin, ''caro'', genitive ''carnis'', meaning "meat" or "flesh" and ''vorare'' meaning "to devour"), is an organism, animal whose food and energy requirements derive solely from animal Tissue (biology), tissue ...
s that hunt regularly, such as
hyena Hyenas, or hyaenas (from Ancient Greek , ), are feliformia, feliform carnivoran mammals of the family Hyaenidae . With only four extant species (each in their own genus), it is the fifth-smallest biological family in the Carnivora and one of the ...

hyena
s and
jackal Jackals are medium-sized omnivorous mammals of the Canina (subtribe), subtribe Canina, which also includes wolves and the domestic dog, among other species. While the word "jackal" has historically been used for many small canines, in modern ...

jackal
s, but also animals rarely thought of as scavengers, such as African
lion The lion (''Panthera leo'') is a large Felidae, cat of the genus ''Panthera'' native to Africa and India. It has a muscular, deep-chested body, short, rounded head, round ears, and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail. It is sexually dimorphic; ...

lion
s,
leopard The leopard (''Panthera pardus'') is one of the five extant species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Mole ...

leopard
s, and
wolves The wolf (''Canis lupus''), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large canine native to Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, N ...

wolves
will scavenge if given the chance. They may also use their size and ferocity to intimidate the original hunters (the
cheetah The cheetah (''Acinonyx jubatus'') is a large cat native to Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) includin ...

cheetah
is a notable victim, rather than a perpetrator). Almost all scavengers above insect size are predators and will hunt if not enough
carrion Carrion (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...

carrion
is available, as few ecosystems provide enough dead animals year-round to keep its scavengers fed on that alone. Scavenging
wild dog A free-ranging dog is a dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The dog descended from an ancient, extinct wolf, with the modern grey wolf being the dog's nearest living ...

wild dog
s and
crow A crow is a bird of the genus ''Corvus'', or more broadly a synonym for all of ''Corvus''. The word "crow" is used as part of the common name of species including: * ''Corvus albus'' – pied crow (Central African coasts to southern Africa) * ''Co ...

crow
s frequently exploit
roadkill s like this bear are particularly vulnerable to becoming roadkill Roadkill is an Fauna, animal or animals that have been struck and killed by motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street, Wenchang Lu. They are a very commo ...

roadkill
. Scavengers of dead plant material include
termite Termites are Eusociality, eusocial insects that are classified at the Taxonomy (biology), taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or alternatively as Taxonomic rank#All ranks, epifamily Termitoidae, within the order Blattodea (along with cockroa ...

termite
s that build nests in grasslands and then collect dead plant material for consumption within the nest. The interaction between scavenging animals and humans is seen today most commonly in suburban settings with animals such as opossums,
polecat Polecat is a common name for mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in Female# ...
s and raccoons. In some African towns and villages, scavenging from hyenas is also common. In the prehistoric eras, the species ''Tyrannosaurus rex'' may have been an
apex predator The great white shark (bottom) was originally considered the apex predator of the ocean; however, the killer whale (top) has proven to be a predator of the shark. An apex predator, also known as an alpha predator or top predator, is a predator ...
, preying upon
hadrosaur Hadrosaurids ( el, ἁδρός, ''hadrós'', "stout, thick"), or duck-billed dinosaurs, are members of the ornithischian family Hadrosauridae. This group is known as the duck-billed dinosaurs for the flat duck-bill appearance of the bones in thei ...

hadrosaur
s,
ceratopsia Ceratopsia or Ceratopia ( or ; Ancient Greek, Greek: "horned faces") is a group of herbivore, herbivorous, beaked dinosaurs that thrived in what are now North America, Europe, and Asia, during the Cretaceous Period (geology), Period, although ance ...
ns, and possibly juvenile sauropods, although some experts have suggested the dinosaur was primarily a scavenger. The debate about whether ''Tyrannosaurus'' was an apex predator or scavenger was among the longest ongoing feuds in
paleontology Paleontology (), also spelled palaeontology or palæontology, is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene epoch (geology), epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes th ...
; however, most scientists now agree that ''Tyrannosaurus'' was an opportunistic carnivore, acting mostly as a predator but scavenging when it could. Recent research also shows that while an adult ''Tyrannosaurus rex'' would energetically gain little though scavenging, smaller theropods of approximately may have potentially gained levels similar to that of hyenas, though not enough for them to rely on scavenging. Other research suggests that carcasses of giant sauropods may have made scavenging much more profitable to carnivores than it is now. For example, a single 40 tonne ''Apatosaurus'' carcass would have been worth roughly 6 years of calories for an average allosaur. As a result of this resource oversupply, it is possible that some theropods evolved to get most of their calories by scavenging giant sauropod carcasses, and may not have needed to consistently hunt in order to survive. The same study suggested that theropods in relatively sauropod-free environments, such as tyrannosaurs, were not exposed to the same type of carrion oversupply, and were therefore forced to hunt in order to survive. There are also an info that Otodus megalodon, Ceratosaurus, Andrewsarchus and some more prehistoric animals were scavengers. Animals which consume
feces Feces ( or faeces) is the solid or semi-solid remains of food that was not digested in the small intestine The small intestine or small bowel is an organ (anatomy), organ in the human gastrointestinal tract, gastrointestinal tract where most ...

feces
, such as
dung beetle Dung beetles are beetle Beetles are a group of insects that form the Taxonomic rank, order Coleoptera (), in the superorder Endopterygota. Their front pair of wings are hardened into wing-cases, Elytron, elytra, distinguishing them from mo ...

dung beetle
s, are referred to as coprovores. Animals that collect small particles of dead organic material of both animal and plant origin are referred to as
detritivores are soil-dwelling detritivores. Detritivores (also known as detrivores, detritophages, detritus feeders, or detritus eaters) are heterotrophs that obtain nutrients by consuming detritus (decomposing plant and animal parts as well as feces). There ...
s.


Ecological function

Scavengers play a fundamental role in the environment through the removal of decaying organisms, serving as a natural sanitation service. While microscopic and invertebrate
decomposer Decomposers are Organism, organisms that break down dead or decaying organisms; they carry out decomposition, a process possible by only certain kingdoms, such as fungi. Like herbivores and predators, decomposers are heterotrophic, meaning that th ...
s break down dead organisms into simple organic matter which are used by nearby
autotroph An autotroph or primary producer is an organism that produces complex organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bo ...
s, scavengers help conserve energy and nutrients obtained from carrion within the upper
trophic level The trophic level of an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, properties of life. It is a synonym for "Outlin ...
s, and are able to disperse the energy and nutrients farther away from the site of the carrion than decomposers. Scavenging unites animals which normally would not come into contact, and results in the formation of highly structured and complex communities which engage in nonrandom interactions. Scavenging communities function in the redistribution of energy obtained from carcasses and reducing diseases associated with decomposition. Oftentimes, scavenger communities differ in consistency due to carcass size and carcass types, as well as by seasonal effects as consequence of differing invertebrate and microbial activity. Competition for carrion results in the inclusion or exclusion of certain scavengers from access to carrion, shaping the scavenger community. When carrion decomposes at a slower rate during cooler seasons, competitions between scavengers decrease, while the number of scavenger species present increases. Alterations in scavenging communities may result in drastic changes to the scavenging community in general, reduce
ecosystem services File:Mothugudem road near Chintoor.jpg, Social forestry in India, Social forestry in Andhra Pradesh, India, providing fuel, soil protection, shade and even well-being to travellers. Ecosystem services are the many and varied benefits to humans ...
and have detrimental effects on animal and humans. The reintroduction of gray wolves (''Canis lupus'') into Yellowstone National Park in the United States caused drastic changes to the prevalent scavenging community, resulting in the provision of carrion to many mammalian and avian species. Likewise, the reduction of vulture species in India lead to the increase of opportunistic species such as feral dogs and rats. The presence of both species at carcasses resulted in the increase of diseases such as rabies and bubonic plague in wildlife and livestock, as feral dogs and rats are transmitters of such diseases. Furthermore, the decline of vulture populations in India has been linked to the increased rates of anthrax in humans due to the handling and ingestion of infected livestock carcasses. An increase of disease transmission has been observed in mammalian scavengers in Kenya due to the decrease in vulture populations in the area, as the decrease in vulture populations resulted in an increase of the number of mammalian scavengers at a given carcass along with the time spent at a carcass.


Disease transmission

Scavenging may provide a direct and indirect method for transmitting disease between animals. Scavengers of infected carcasses may become hosts for certain pathogens and consequently vectors of disease themselves. An example of this phenomenon is the increased transmission of
tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by ''Mycobacterium tuberculosis'' (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections show no symptoms, in which case ...

tuberculosis
observed when scavengers engage in eating infected carcasses. Likewise, the ingestion of bat carcasses infected with
rabies Rabies is a viral disease A viral disease (or viral infection) occurs when an organism's body is invaded by pathogen In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical s ...
by striped skunks (''Mephitis mephitis'') resulted in increased infection of these organisms with the virus. A major vector of transmission of diseases are various bird species, with outbreak being influenced by such carrier birds and their environment. An avian cholera outbreak from 2006 to 2007 off the coast Newfoundland, Canada resulted in the mortality of many marine bird species. The transmission, perpetuation and spread of the outbreak was mainly restricted to gull species who scavenge for food in the area. Similarly, an increase of transmission of avian influenza virus to chickens by domestic ducks from Indonesian farms permitted to scavenge surrounding areas was observed in 2007. The scavenging of ducks in rice paddy fields in particular resulted in increased contact with other bird species feeding on leftover rice, which may have contributed to increased infection and transmission of the avian influenza virus. The domestic ducks may not have demonstrated symptoms of infection themselves, though were observed to excrete high concentrations of the avian influenza virus.


Threats

Many species that scavenge face persecution globally. Vultures, in particular, have faced incredible persecution and threats by humans. Before its ban by regional governments in 2006, the veterinary drug
Diclofenac Diclofenac, sold under the brand name Voltaren among others, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain and inflammatory diseases such as gout. It is taken by mouth, rectally in a suppository, used by injection, or ...

Diclofenac
has resulted in at least a 95% decline of '' Gyps'' vultures in Asia. Habitat loss and food shortage have contributed to the decline of vulture species in West Africa due to the growing human population and overhunting of vulture food sources, as well as changes in livestock husbandry. Poisoning certain predators to increase the number of game animals is still a common hunting practice in Europe and contributes to the poisoning of vultures when they consume the carcasses of poisoned predators.


Benefits to human well-being

Highly efficient scavengers, also known as dominant or apex-scavengers, can have benefits to human well being. Increases in dominant scavenger populations, such as vultures, can reduce populations of smaller opportunistic scavengers, such as rats. These smaller scavengers are often pests and disease vectors.


In humans

In the 1980s,
Lewis Binford Lewis Roberts Binford (November 21, 1931 – April 11, 2011) was an American archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often consider ...
suggested that
early humans ''Homo'' () is the genus that emerged in the (otherwise extinct) genus '' Australopithecus'' that encompasses the extant species ''Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characte ...
primarily obtained meat via
scavenging Scavengers are animals that consume dead organisms that have died from causes other than predation. While scavenging generally refers to carnivores feeding on carrion, it is also a herbivorous feeding behavior. Scavengers play an important role ...
, not through
hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife or feral animals. The most common reasons for humans to hunt are to harvest useful animal products (meat, fur/hide (skin), hide, bone/tusks, horn (anatomy), horn/ant ...

hunting
. In 2010, Dennis Bramble and Daniel Lieberman proposed that early carnivorous human ancestors subsequently developed
long-distance running Long-distance running, or endurance running, is a form of continuous running over distances of at least . Physiologically, it is largely aerobic in nature and requires stamina as well as mental strength. Among mammal Mammals (from La ...
behaviors which improved the ability to scavenge and hunt: they could reach scavenging sites more quickly and also pursue a single animal until it could be safely killed at close range due to exhaustion and hyperthermia. In
Tibetan Buddhism Tibetan Buddhism (also referred to as Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, Himalayan Buddhism, and Northern Buddhism) is the form of Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 ...
the practice of
excarnation In archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biolog ...
– that is, the exposure of dead human bodies to carrion birds and/or other scavenging animals – is the distinctive characteristic of
sky burial Sky burial (, lit. "bird-scattered") is a funeral practice in which a human corpse is placed on a mountaintop to decompose while exposed to the elements or to be eaten by scavenging animals, especially carrion birds. It is a specific ty ...
, which involves the dismemberment of human
cadaver A cadaver or corpse is a dead human body that is used by medical students A medical school is a tertiary educational institution, or part of such an institution, that teaches medicine, and awards a professional degree for physicians and surge ...

cadaver
s of whom the remains are fed to
vulture A vulture is a bird of prey that Scavenger, scavenges on carrion. There are 23 Neontology#Extant taxa versus extinct taxa, extant species of vulture (including Condors). Old World vultures include 16 living species native to Europe, Africa, and As ...

vulture
s, and traditionally the main
funeral A funeral is a ceremony A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed in a sequestered place and according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the ...

funeral
rite (alongside
cremation Cremation is a method of Disposal of human corpses, final disposition of a Cadaver, dead body through combustion, burning. Cremation may serve as a funeral or post-funeral rite and as an alternative to burial. In some countries, including India a ...

cremation
) used to dispose of the human body. A similar funerary practice that features excarnation can be found in
Zoroastrianism Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is an Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest continuously-practiced organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster Zoroaster (, ; el, Ζωροάστρης, ''Zōro ...
; in order to prevent the pollution of the sacred elements (fire, earth, and water) from contact with decomposing bodies, human cadavers are exposed on the
Towers of Silence A tower is a tall structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rule ...

Towers of Silence
to be eaten by vultures and wild dogs. Studies in
behavioral ecology Behavioral ecology, also spelled behavioural ecology, is the study of the evolution Evolution is change in the Heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristic ...
and
ecological Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms In biology ...
epidemiology Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and determinants In mathematics, the determinant is a Scalar (mathematics), scalar value that is a function (mathematics), function of the entries of a s ...
have shown that
cannibalistic Cannibalism is the act of consuming another individual of the same species as food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμ ...

cannibalistic
necrophagy, although rare, has been observed as a survival behavior in several
social species Sociality is the degree to which individuals in an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consum ...
, including
anatomically modern human Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, mo ...
s; however, episodes of
human cannibalism Human cannibalism is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh or internal organs of other human beings. A person who practices cannibalism is called a cannibal. The meaning of "cannibalism" has been extended into zoology to describe an ind ...
occur rarely in most human societies. Many instances have occurred in
human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, advent of writing, from primary source, primary and ...
, especially in times of
war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (news ...

war
and
famine A famine is a widespread scarcity of food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual con ...

famine
, where necrophagy and human cannibalism emerged as a survival behavior, although
anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social anthropology, cultural anthropology and philosophical anthropology study the norm ...

anthropologist
s report the usage of ritual cannibalism among funerary practices and as the preferred means of disposal of the dead in some
tribal societies The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intellig ...
.


Gallery

File:White-backed_vultures_eating_a_dead_wildebeest.JPG,
White-backed vulture The white-backed vulture (''Gyps africanus'') is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagle Eagle is the common name for many large Bird of prey, birds of prey of the family Accipitridae. Eagles belong to seve ...
s feeding on a carcass of a wildebeest File:Raven scavenging on a dead shark.jpg, A jungle crow feeding on a small dead
shark Sharks are a group of elasmobranch Elasmobranchii () is a subclass of Chondrichthyes or cartilaginous fish, including shark Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a Chondrichthyes#Skeleton, cartilaginous skeleton, ...

shark
File:Coyoteelk.jpg,
Coyote The coyote (''Canis latrans'') is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the lar ...

Coyote
feeding on an
elk The elk (''Cervus canadensis''), also known as the wapiti, is one of the Largest cervids, largest species within the deer family, Cervidae, and one of the largest terrestrial mammals in North America, as well as Central Asia, Central and East ...

elk
carcass in winter in Lamar Valley, near
Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park is an American national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natura ...

Yellowstone National Park
File:A polar bear (Ursus maritimus) scavenging a narwhal whale (Monodon monoceros) carcass - journal.pone.0060797.g001-A.png, A
polar bear The polar bear (''wikt:ursus#Latin, Ursus wikt:maritimus#Latin, maritimus'') is a Hypercarnivore, hypercarnivorous bear whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surroun ...

polar bear
scavenging on a
narwhal The narwhal, also known as a narwhale (''Monodon monoceros''), is a medium-sized toothed whale that possesses a large "tusk" from a protruding canine tooth. It lives year-round in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. It is ...

narwhal
carcass File:An Ibiza wall lizard (Podarcis pityusensis) scavenging on fish scraps leftover from another predator - journal.pone.0060797.g001-B.png, An Ibiza wall lizard scavenging on fish scraps left over from another predator File:Red weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) feeding on a dead African giant snail (Achatina fulica) - journal.pone.0060797.g001-F.png, s feeding on a dead giant African snail


See also

* Consumer-resource systems


Notes


References


Further reading

* ''
Merriam-Webster's Dictionary ''Webster's Dictionary'' is any of the English language dictionaries edited in the early 19th century by American lexicographer Noah Webster (1758–1843), as well as numerous related or unrelated dictionaries that have adopted the Webster's na ...
'' * Smith TM, Smith RL (2006) ''Elements of Ecology''. Sixth edition. Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco, CA. * Chase, et al. ''The Scavenger Handbook''. Bramblewood Press, Santa Barbara, CA. * Rufus, Anneli and Lawson, Kristan. ''The Scavengers' Manifesto''. Tarcher, New York. * "Tasmanian devil". Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2009. Credo Reference. Web. 17 September 2012. * Kruuk, H. Hunter and Hunted: Relationships between Carnivores and People. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.


External links


Stitching a Life From the Scraps of Others
– slideshow by ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''NYT'' or ''NY Times'') is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 130 Pulit ...

The New York Times
'' {{Authority control Ecology