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Re: T-rex predation

On Wed, 10 Sep 1997, Bettyc wrote:

> Dictator-for-life Calvin wrote:
> > I don't know too much about energy budgets, etc., but offhand I can't
> > think of any modern ecosystems where the *largest* carnivore is
> > primarily a scavenger.  
> I can think of some pretty dang big scavengers in modern ecosystems.
> If Baleen whales don't count as 'hunters" (since they feed on
> microscopic animals, I don't think of the big ones that way-they're just
> filter feeding on other animals, not stalking, or killing or maiming
> another animal) then the next largest groups include true carnivores in
> the toothed whales and sharks which both certainly scavenge. And do we
> know what giant squid eat, and if they are hunters or scavengers?   
> -- 
>            Betty Cunningham  
> the reply-to in this e-mail is a spam trap
> remove the dash in flyinggoat in e-mail replies

I agree that baleen whales are not hunters, but some (i.e. the humpback)
do use coordinated "bubble nets" to corral the small organisms upon which
they feed.  Still, I don't know if the other baleen whales could be
considered true "scavengers" either, since they don't feed on carrion.  

In response to your comment on toothed whales and sharks;  you are right,
they will scavenge.  Almost any predator will take a readily available
meal if it is offered in the form of "fresh" carrion, what the dictator
Calvin said was that he did not know of any modern ecosystem where the
largest carnivore is a _primary_ scavenger.  Large carnivorous sharks
(like the tiger and white) are renowned hunters and the large toothed
whales (like the sperm whale) hunt the squid you mentioned and orcas are
very clever in hunting seals.  No one is doubting that a large carnivore
will take carrion if it is available (and not too rotten), the point is
that large carnivores are primarily predators.

Not a flame attempt,