Deer are a constant nuisance in the lives of human beings, often causing car accidents and extensive property damage with their bold runs across our roads. But aside from their brainless sprinting in front of cars, deer are mostly seen as harmless herbivores.
A new study might change how you look at the little Bambi clone running across the road. Scientists posted new findings in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, and they claim to have footage of deer with the remains of humans in their mouths. The folks at Popular Science explain:
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.
The study claims to be the first evidence of deer scavenging human bones; though deer are traditionally herbivores, they have been known to snack on birds and bats on occasion. Their thirst for blood expanding to human remains isn't too surprising, since they don't have to put up a fight to pick at a carcass.
The strangest part of the study, though, might be how this was discovered in the first place. The researchers at the helm of the study wanted to track how scavengers left their mark on human remains, so they just left a body in the middle of the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility in San Marcos, Texas. Plenty of people have promised to donate their bodies to science in the event of an untimely death, but few would expect their body to be tossed in the middle of the woods to be torn apart by animals.
Regardless of the methodology, you might want to watch yourself the next time you're staring down a deer on the road or meandering through the woods. They may look like harmless, skittish animals, but after centuries of humans mowing them down for sport (and on accident), the deer are ready to pick apart your bones. And unlike zombies, they're actually real!