Summary

The view that scavengers are repugnant, behavioral oddities is an unfortunate and inaccurate representation of an ecological role. Scavenging provides an important means to bolster the structure and functioning of ecological systems because it mediates the ebb and flow of a major resource in space and time. It seems evident that in its absence, many ecological systems would have considerably lower species diversity because of reduced productivity and longevity of the myriad species that avail themselves of carrion when it is in supply. In addition, scavenging may serve an important and integral role in the functioning of ecosystems in that it provides a source of energy to top carnivores that that can rival or exceed in magnitude levels of energy supply provided by the supply chain from plants through herbivores to carnivores.

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