Humans and Scavengers: The Evolution of Interactions and Ecosystem Services

Margalida, Antoni; Moleón, Marcos; Sánchez-Zapata, José A.; Carrete, Martina; Owen-Smith, Norman; Donázar, José A. (2014). Humans and Scavengers: The Evolution of Interactions and Ecosystem Services. BioScience, 64(5), pp. 394-403. American Institute of Biological Sciences 10.1093/biosci/biu034

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Since the origin of early Homo species during the Late Pliocene, interactions of humans with scavenging birds and mammals have changed in form through shifting ecological scenarios. How humans procured meat during the Quaternary Period changed from confrontational scavenging to hunting; shepherding of wild animals; and, eventually, intensive husbandry of domesticated animals. As humans evolved from carcass consumers to carcass providers, the overall relationship between humans and scavengers shifted from competition to facilitation. These changing interactions have translated into shifting provisioning (by signaling carcass location), regulating (e.g., by removing animal debris and controlling infectious diseases), and cultural ecosystem services (e.g., by favoring human language and social cooperation skills or, more recently, by enhancing ecotourism) provided by scavenging vertebrates. The continued survival of vultures and large mammalian scavengers alongside humans is now severely in jeopardy, threatening the loss of the numerous ecosystem services from which contemporary and future humans could benefit.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Margalida, Antoni

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

0006-3568

Publisher:

American Institute of Biological Sciences

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

30 Mar 2015 11:40

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2015 10:28

Publisher DOI:

10.1093/biosci/biu034

Web of Science ID:

000335430900007

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.65936

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/65936

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