Hey, how’s it going? I won’t keep you here long, just thought I’d ask how your Friday was turning out. Excited for the weekend? Me too. I’m going to play so much Mario Kart and eat so many nachos. You got plans? Oh, cool. Hey, before you go, can I tell you something? No, don’t worry it’s nothing bad, god knows we’ve had enough of that this week. Nah, man, I just wanted to help you sleep more soundly at night by letting you know that deer are munching on human remains now. Just digging right in, you know? Opening their adorable little Bambi mouths and gnawing on human bones, rippling entrails out with their teeth. Oh, you don’t believe it? Deer are kind and friendly, and there’s no way that Bambi would ever fight back against the humans, even though they murdered the hell out of his mother?
Yeah, hold on a second. Let me look for something. BAM: It’s scientific evidence that deer are now gnawing on human bone when they’re not prancing about the forest making friends with rabbits and playing with squirrels. You cool? Because I can stop. Nah, just kidding: I’m gonna tell you more.
According to Popular Science, researchers at the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility (that’s the body farm you always hear people talking about in hushed tones), set out to discover how different scavengers “leave their marks” on remains. So they put a dead body in a heavily-wooded area and just waited for the usual suspects — foxes, turkey vultures, raccoons — to show up and do their thing. But then, something strange and (depending on your take on this) wonderful happened:
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 13—the camera caught a deer with another rib sticking out of its mouth like a cigar. It’s not clear whether it was the same deer in both cases, but it’s certainly possible first one came back for seconds.
My bet? That deer got a taste for blood — Popular Science reports that deer have been known to thirst for it like furry vampires — and decided to come back. But I’m not a scientist; I’m just over here talking to you about what I believe deer are capable of. And if this one scary story that I read in middle school about rabid forest animals devouring a group of fifth-graders is at all based in fact, I’m pretty sure that what we’ve got here the beginning of a furry deadly uprising.
Or they’re just out here giving murders new ideas for body disposal. (Important note: This is the first time that deer have been caught eating human remains, but they could have been doing it forever. You’re welcome!)
Here’s how the deer do their munching:
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
It’s scary all right, but there’s a silver lining here: Because we now know that deer will munch on human remains, we may soon be able to solve cases there were, up until this point, considered unsolvable mysteries. So thanks, deer, and keep munching on them bones! You need the calcium.