Wednesday, January 20, 2016

carcass: a quick snack

As I was openly procrastinating for my Humanities Test tomorrow, I was scrolling through Twitter and came across some article about cats. I then clicked the next article and started reading fun facts about Vultures. This reminded me about "A Carcass" and thus English and Humanities (and the test I am currently ignoring.) http://birding.about.com/od/Bird-Trivia/a/20-Fun-Facts-About-Vultures.htm Here are my favorite carcass- related facts directly from the site! Hope y'all's twitter scrolling is as productive and educational as mine was!
  1. Unlike many raptors, vultures are relatively social and often feed, fly or roost in large flocks. A group of vultures is called a committee, venue or volt. In flight, a flock of vultures is a kettle, and when the birds are feeding together at a carcass, the group is called a wake.
  2. Vultures are carnivorous and eat carrion almost exclusively. They prefer fresh meat but are able to consume carcasses that may have rotted so much as to be dangerous for other animals. This gives vultures a unique and important ecological niche because they help prevent the spread of diseases from old, rotting corpses.
  3. Vultures urinate on their legs and feet to help cool off on hot days, and their urine also helps kill any bacteria or parasites they’ve picked up from walking through carcasses to help keep the birds healthier
Gross as heck, but also super interesting. Perhaps our subject in Baudelaire's poem had vulture urine on her as well, or was soon to be the site of a wake!

4 comments:

Jack Zheng said...

We (people who aren't professional birders or interested in birding) normally would think of a bird eating a rotting carcass as disgusting and predatory in a sense (since they eat the dead), so I never thought that vultures were actually helpful for the environment as they prevent other animals from getting sick from rotten flesh. They even urinate on themselves to get rid of bacteria, which would appear to be counterproductive but serves its sanitary purpose. Nature in this sense is kind of like Baudelaire, who finds beauty and transcendence in a situation that humans would generally consider disgusting.

Abbey said...

What I'm about to say is irrelevant to what we're learning but it's still interesting nonetheless. When you mentioned the group of vultures being called a committee it made me want to look up what a group of other animals were called. Click the following link to see what the collective noun of some animals is.

http://www.thealmightyguru.com/Pointless/AnimalGroups.html

Antonio Imbornone said...

I feel like this blog post brings up the eternal existence of carcasses in the world. They are a regular entity in our lives, yet we ignore them and get rid of them because they are unpleasant beings in the world. However, in "a Carcass," Baudelaire accepts the presence of carcasses in the world, and analyzes their pros and cons.

Jack Zheng said...

@antonio
I think that carcasses don't have any pros - you can't get rid of all the dead bodies in America (over 2.4 million people die in the USA each year!), and it hurts to see a loved one go.