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Scientists Find a Deer Eating Human Remains

Watch out, Zombies! You have some serious competition.

Published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences was a report entitled “White-tailed Deer a Taphonomic Agent:Photographic Evidence of White-tailed Deer Gnawing on Human Bone.” Bambi is not too innocent anymore!

The abstract for the article reads that this is the “first known photographic evidence of deer gnawing human remains.” According to Popular Science, researchers left a body in the woods to “learn about how different scavengers leave their marks on human remains.” By setting up a motion-sensitive camera, scientists viewed some common creatures lurking in the night to get some free food.

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White-tailed deer caught on camera gnawing on human bones for first time: Researcher said they were surprised to...

However, it was not until January 5, 2015 that the camera caught glimpse of a white-tailed deer with a human rib in its mouth. A few weeks later, on January 13th, a deer was caught again on camera sucking on another rib bone. As Popular Science reports, scientists are unsure if it is the same deer.

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Stepping out for the evening - two white-tailed deer on Lapointe Point Trail @FortStJosephNHS #TimeLapseTuesday

Typically living a vegetarian lifestyle, this is not the first time that scientists have caught deer straying away from their typical diet. Deer have been caught eating “fish, bats, and dead rabbits” says Popular Science. Scientists speculate that deer select certain creatures in order to receive certain minerals that they are lacking. During the winter months, the animal’s diet may be lacking in salt and calcium. In order to help their bodies out, the deer seek out flesh.

Researchers are hoping to use this information in order to help investigators determine how long an individual has been deceased. If a body is found in the woods, certain animals will pay a visit to the corpse during different stages.

While reading this story, all we could hope is that M. Night Shyamalan is writing a movie about corpse-eating deer. Maybe we just ruined his shocking movie twist. Sorry, Mr. Shaymalan.


Sarah Harley is a Hufflepuff living in NYC. When she is not traveling or talking to random animals, she is working as a script writer. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp