Blogging is a funny thing. You can spend loads of effort/time on a post that you consider pretty neat, interesting, and unique. But it only receives a trickle of hits. And then you can pump out a quick post on #awesomebro #dinomaniac #dinosaur carnage and it gets loads of hits.
So here are some more flesh rippin' theropods as promised. Turkey vultures and a lone gull on a ripe California Sea Lion photographed by yours truly at the Ventura River Mouth, Ventura California.
A couple of hundred years ago and the turkey vultures would have likely been joined by grizzly bears, condors (still extant but rare now in Ventura county), wolves, and maybe even the occasional jaguar. Go back 10,000 years or so and you have a whole other guild of mammal predators; dire wolves, short-faced bears, smilodons- not to mention giant teratornid birds.
Its long puzzled me why we don't see more obligate soaring scavengers during the Mesozoic in the fossil record. Sure you have isiodactylids- but so far they appear limited in time and scope. Azdharchid and other types probably exploited carcasses opportunistically. I'm just a little perplexed at the lack of soaring obligate scavengers in places like the Morrison- it was fairly open with a diversity of large bodied dinos- and we have predator traps there too like in Dino National Monument. Many dino faunas are just calling out for soaring scavengers.... is it really a fossil bias? Or am I just over-thinking it? Maybe terrestrial theropods were diverse and numerous enough to handle the cleanup? Maybe many pterosaurs were more generalist scavengers/hunters like corvids?
Anyways I often come across dead marine mammals on the local beaches, and I often see turkey vultures. But here I was fortuitous enough to catch the dead body with the bird together at last. It just goes to show you that you don't have to go to the Serengeti to see some pretty neat interactions.
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