How Vultures eat human Bodies

Forensiker haben eine Studie mit Geiern durchgeführt, um festzustellen, wie schnell die einen Leichnam entdecken und fressen. Die Viecher haben unglaubliche 37 Tage zum Aufspüren der Leiche gebraucht, aber immerhin nur 5 Stunden bis sie komplett skelettiert war. Lahmarschig am Anfang, aber dann ganz stark im Abgang, diese Geier.

With colleagues Alberto Giordano and Michelle Hamilton they placed a body from the Willed Body Donation Program in the grounds of the Texas State University's Forensic Anthropology Research Facility - "an outdoor human decomposition laboratory" similar to the storied 'body farm' in Tennessee - and left it monitored by a motion-sensing video camera.

The video camera was triggered after 37 days when a 30-strong wake of American black vultures - Coragyps atratus - discovered the body and set to work consuming it. They reduced it to bones in just five hours. Both results surprised the researchers: pigs have been found and consumed by vultures within 24 hours of being left in the facility. And the skeletonisation was much quicker than the day they had expected it to take. This will feed into future time-of-death calculations.

The spatial pattern of discarded body parts was mapped by the team using GPS over the next 15 weeks - as vultures came back and distributed the remains still further - and the researchers hope this dispersal pattern will aid future forensics work, too.

Vultures skeletonise corpse for the sake of forensics (via Discover Mag)