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Re: Tyrannosaurids scavengers?/Nutritional value of rotting meat?

Two points of interest:
    1. The paper in Nature* on the analysis of genetic material from Neanderthal remains indicated that "the amount of collagen - type debris extracted from 130 mg of the Mezmaiskya Neanderthal rib fragment was about 22% of the average level extracted from modern bones" - after 29kyr!!!
    2. Hyenas can digest bone ** and it leads to them being among the most efficient carnivores. Hyenas have been known to eat dessicated bones of carcases in times of famine.
    This may interesting because one might look again at the T. Rex turd and get a best possible estimate of the bone-digestive fragments of the species from the size and condition of the bone fragments in it, by comparison with similar-sized pieces in hyena dung.
    3. Extrapolating about extinctions: the ability to extract nutrition from long-dead carcasses, either directly through digestion or indirectly through insectivory, may explain patterns of survival in extinctions caused by events (comets) rather than trends (climate change).
Gus Derkits
* Ovchinnikov, et al. "Molecular analysis of Neanderthal DNA..." Nature 404(2000)490.
** Estes, The Behavior Guids to African Mammals, U. Cal. Press1991.

Al Fraser and Laurie Fletcher wrote:


The nutritional value of rotting meat is mostly in the amino acids in the proteins and the lipid components in the fat.  Mineral components also remain.  To the extent that these are still there, the nutrition is still there. And, as you imply, the part that has been recycled into insect (or bacterial) cells still has nutritional value.  The loss in nutritional value (as distinct from the gain in toxic and disgust value) would be slight for dead meat in the conditions that are usually eaten by scavengers.

Al Fraser

Darren Tanke wrote:

  Colleagues,  There was some discussion on the nutritional value of rotting/rotten meat and scavenging generally, which brought up some unresolved questions:  1. Nutritional value of rotting/rotted meat vs. fresh meat? Anyone have any thoughts on this? Have any studies been done on this issue? I'd be interested in getting copies of such papers if they exist. Someone here suggested that the rotting/rotted meat would be more nutritious due to the secondary ingestion of insect eggs, larvae (maggots), and adult insects. Another person thought rotten meat was more protein-rich but could not substantiate this claim.