Skip to comments.Forensic scientists caught a deer munching on a human carcass for the first time ever
Posted on 12/17/2017 8:58:14 PM PST by nickcarraway
Its gruesome, but could help investigations
Forensic scientists have to do a lot of weird things in order to solve crimes and identify bodies. Sometimes that involves leaving corpses outside to rot, to better understand what happens during and after decomposition. In fact, there are entire facilities devoted to studying the decay of donated human remains, like the 26-acre Forensic Anthropology Research Facility (FARF) in San Marcos, Texas.
In July 2014, researchers left a body in a wooded part of FARF. They wanted to learn about how different scavengers leave their marks on human remains, so they set up a motion-sensitive camera to see who would stop by. In this part of Texas, its not unusual to see foxes, turkey vultures, raccoons, coyotes, and other carrion-gobblers picking at a corpse. But after a few months, someone new came to the table.
Caught on camera: a white-tailed deer with a human rib bone in its mouth.
On January 5, 2015, the camera caught a glimpse of a young white-tailed deer standing near the skeleton with a human rib bone in its mouth. Then it happened again on January 13the camera caught a deer with another rib sticking out of its mouth like a cigar. Its not clear whether it was the same deer in both cases, but it's certainly possible first one came back for seconds.
This is the first known evidence of a deer scavenging human bones, and the authors published their findings in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.
Another deer (or possibly the same one) visited the carcass a few weeks later.
It is not, however, the first time weve seen deer violating their vegetarian diets. In fact, theyre known to have a taste for blood. Previously theyve been spotted eating fish, bats, and dead rabbits. Scientists think deer and other herbivores may occasionally seek out flesh to get mineralssuch as phosphorus, salt, and calciumthat may be missing from their regular diets, especially in wintertime.
The paper describes the signs of deer dining, in case it helps other forensic scientists in investigating suspicious deaths. Based on this case study and the way deer have been known to forage animal carcasses, the authors note that the ungulates tend to seek out dry bones of long-dead animals, and in particular bones with a rectangular cross-section. They cause the most damage on the ends of the bone, where the zigzag motions of their jaws leave behind a stripped, forked pattern in the bone, the authors note. Carnivores, by contrast, seek out fresher remains and leave punctures and pits in the bone.
Although its likely rare for deer to munch on human remains, being able to recognize the signs of ungulate gnawing may help investigators pinpoint where a body came from and how long its been deadwhich could help turn a mysteriously mangled crime scene into a solved case.
Warning: the photos may be disturbing for some people.
I always suspected there was more to their windshield diving then accident.
Now we know, the deer are out for BLOOD. Human blood!
(Or bones at least.)
“Don’t get weird,” it said.
Tasted like chicken.
Child: Where’s Grandpa?
Parent: Bambi ate him.
Child: : O~~~
Deer are embracing their inner freak lately.
All because of global warming. What else.
they are idiots.
its the minerals in the bone. they also go after salt licksand natural mineral deposits.
This reads like a Far Side comic panel in my mind.
They eat red-winged blackbird eggs too.
Yep, this is an old story. Deer and other herbavores gnaw on bones, antler sheds, etc., for minerals. It’s called OSTEOPHAGY.
...and not Cowbird eggs?
“Bad To The Bone”
On the day that I died
The whitetails all gathered ‘round
And they grazed in wide wonder
At the joy they had found
The head buck spoke up
Said “leave this one alone”
He could tell right away
That I was bad to the bone
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