Sunday, November 30, 2014

Death in the Pines

Patty and I went wandering about in the woods behind our home this morning. And we came across this.

Not a pretty sight even when alive, this turkey vulture looks downright awful sprawled out on the ground. The odor wasn't all that nice either.

But as the saying goes, even in death there is life. And if you look closely at the image above and the image below you can see that. (If you're up for the challenge, you'll probably need to bigafy the images, which you can do by clicking on them.)

The sharp eyed (and strong stomached; at least you don't have to deal with the stench!) may notice some insect larva. They change position between the two images.

These larva, commonly known as maggots, are performing the same function as the vulture did while alive. They both turn dead animals into live animals as part of nature's clean up crew.

We may not like these creatures and there is no doubt good evolutionary reasons for that. Avoiding decaying animals, and the bacteria they harbor, is probably a good survival strategy. But without them there'd be dead animals piled up all over the place. So the next time you see a group of vultures soaring in the air above or on the ground gathered around a dead beast, be thankful that the local clean up crew is on the job. The world is a less stinkier place because of them.

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