On a casual lookup on the web, "Necrophage" seems to be a popular name for video game villains, evil vampire wizards, and pale scavenging night-ghouls.

But why should eating carrion carry this connotation of secret evil?

If there were no necrophagous bacteria, we would be nose-deep in corpses. Think how useful it is that scavengers, from the microscopic kind to the interestingly matriarchal hyena, do this useful task for us. And don't forget those useful turtles in the River Ganges.

Sure, corpse-eating rats might have bad breath, but we should appreciate their merits. Blowflies and worms are just making their living. And maggots are useful even in modern medicine, to eat away the dead gangrenous flesh in a suppurating wound.

People complain about mold, too, but without the rotting process that composts dead things into soil, we wouldn't have any dirt for things to grow in.

Long live the ubiquitous necrophages of the world!

Ne*croph"a*gous (?), a. [Gr. eating corpses; a dead body + to eat: cf. F. n'ecrophage.] Zool.

Of or pertaining to the Necrophaga; eating carrion. See Necrophagan.


© Webster 1913.

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