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Re: carnivorous hippos

Dan Chure wrote:
> Vis-a-vis the omnivorous ceratopsian post a short while back, National
> Geographic Channel just ran a show entitled Cannibal Hippos.  This was
> about an anthrax outbreak in an African National Park (can't remember
> which) in 2004 which killed only hippos but killed almost 400 of them.
> Turns out there are patches of ground that are naturally anthrax
> contaminated, but they are small and widespread.  A particularly dry
> year resulted in some hippos taking in more soil than normal while
> feeding on land and getting anthrax.   When they died, other hippos
> would feed on the intestines that hung out when decomposition breached
> the body wall. Hippos feeding on meat was only first reported in the mid
> 1990s (in that case killing and eating an antelope crossing a river at
> night)  but the show also had footage of another incident where a hippo
> was feeding on another hippos carcass.

I have seen footage of male hippos (guarding their patch of the river or
watering hole) coming up to eat a (bovid?) carcass, with the narrator
explaining that during these seasons the hippo can't afford to forage any
long distance for food without risking its spot in the water.

> What next, omnivorous tryannosaurids?
Well, I'm sure they got their fill of partly-digested plant material as
they ate the stomachs and intestines of ceratopsians and hadrosaurs.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Fax: 301-314-9661

Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program, College Park Scholars
Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA