A gruesome forensics experiment that reveals why severed feet sometimes wash up on beaches
By Annalee Newitz
You may have read about mysterious cases of severed feet washing up on beaches in British Columbia. Now forensic scientists have done a simple experiment to show how these things happen. They put a pig carcass underwater and filmed it to demonstrate how quickly ocean life can strip a dead body of all its flesh — causing limbs to fall off in the process. What you’re seeing in this video is a large pig being reduced to bones in a matter of days. The body was put into a cage so no sharks or big fish could reach it. All this destruction is just from small sea creatures.
New Scientist has the story:
The pig carcasses are revealing for the first time how different conditions, for example depth and seasonal changes, affect decomposition in seawater. “We have had a lot of disarticulated feet wash up on our shores in running shoes,” says [researcher Gail] Anderson. “This work is showing the public how crab and shrimp activity can result in severed limbs and that’s it’s a normal process.”
[via Deep Sea News]