Thursday, June 14, 2007

Taphonomy of a Black Bear

As a palaeontologist with an interest in taphonomy I was very pleased when the CMNH’s Invertebrate Zoologist, Dr. Joe Keiper, announced that he was going to place the carcass of a black bear on one of the parcels of land owned by the museum and watch it decay. The carcass has been frozen for about a decade. Almost every day Joe is posting a photo and information on the decay process.

Joe does a lot of forensic entomology for the local and state law enforcement agencies, and he’s primarily interested in the succession of bugs that utilize the carcass. The data that he gathers will also help fill in the big data gaps we have on just how big animals decompose (and maybe someday enter the fossil record).

Go check out the Bugs and Bear Blog.