Jump to content
BigTreeWalker

What About The Bones?

Recommended Posts

BigTreeWalker

Control Specimen

This elk was killed by us during early archery season in September 2014. It was a 4x5 bull (antler point count). At that time we quartered it and deboned the rest. We left the rib cage and spine all attached. One thing about this was that I didn't decide to use this as a control specimen until a couple months later. I would have done things differently from the start if I had decided this earlier. I took a picture of my hunting partner with his kill. Not of much use here. I should have taken a picture as we left it after our task of quartering and boning the elk. I should have placed a game cam to log the animals which visited the site. MIB actually suggested this to me but it didn't even come to mind at the time because I have never set my cameras over bait before. Oh well, you know what they say about hindsight!

This being said, here are my observations and pictures of this site over a period of 6 months or so. I am very detail oriented, but a person has to be to glean the necessary information required to estimate possible kill times. These observations are specifically for the maritime Pacific Northwest. Sometimes it snows in the winter, sometimes it doesn't. This last winter it didn't. Cold weather will preserve kills and make them look newer than they actually are. Around here we usually get rain until mid to late June. Then it quits and dries out until about mid September. Sometimes we have beautiful Indian summers clear into late October. Keeping these factors in mind you can determine a possible age for a kill. The two elk kills #1 and #2 had dry flesh remaining on some of the bones. It looked jerky like. The flesh hadn't been exposed to extended periods of rainfall which turns flesh white. The bone will also exhibit a green patina from algae if it over winters. The bones were still white. Therefore, the kills probably happened in June or after of 2014.

We can now look at the control specimen and witness what happened to it over the last 6 months. We were back in the control area hunting about 2 days after the kill was made. At the time as we approached closer to the site I heard a low rumbling growl. We couldn't see the area from the old logging road we were on because it was about 50yds back in the trees. When we arrived at the site no animals were seen in the vicinity of the carcass. However, in the flesh and hide that remained was the impression of a large canine. Something had drug the carcass about 30 feet from the gut pile, which was still intact. I interpreted this as being a cougar. A bear probably would have attacked the gut pile first. There were no tracks on the forest floor. Most the time in our forests tracks just don't show. The forest duff is just to springy. Later it occurred to me, after first hearing the growl, that the cougar was probably close by. What a comforting thought!

Now we get to the pictures I did take at the end of October, about a month and a half later. At this time the gut pile was totally gone and the hide was nothing but hair on the ground. The possible cougar had managed to drag the carcass about 30yds from the original spot. We could tell this by the hair left in that spot. But that wasn't the final resting place. Something had dragged the bones back about 20yds to the other side of the of where they had originally rested. So about 50yds in all from where it had been dragged first. That's where a game cam could have shown us what happened here.

Looking at the pictures you can see most of the ribbones are still attached, except for the ones that had rubbed on the ground during the process of being dragged. Also, if you zoom in along the edge of the ribs you can see the small crenulations made by the predators' incisors. Note, there are no noticeable impressions in the bones themselves. Also, note the white flesh still attached where the ribs meet the spine. It has been rained on for an extended period of time.

post-24465-0-69035800-1429258035_thumb.j

post-24465-0-76113900-1429258573_thumb.j

These pictures were taken in February of 2015, about 6 months after the elk had been killed. Natural disarticulation has finally occurred through decay and we end up with what looks like a bone stack. At this point a question arises, when did the disarticulation occur? If the bones haven't been disturbed, you might be able to tell by their orientation to each other. However, if they have been disturbed, then the only other way to tell is to look for impressions on the bones themselves. Notice the color of the bone has changed.

post-24465-0-77852600-1429258340_thumb.j

post-24465-0-21269200-1429258367_thumb.j

After I discovered how important it could be to check out any bones. I found more cow elk bones just down the road from our hunting camp last year. The skull was there. The rest of the bones were scattered around the area. I could find no impressions in the bones. I came to the conclusion that it was cougar killed, wounded by a hunter, or just died of natural causes.

If a deer or elk was killed by a hunter and boned in the field. You will probably find saw marks on the lower leg bones and pelvis. This evidence is present on our control specimen. We also found some older bones about 50yds behind EK #1 that showed saw marks in the above mentioned bones.

In western Washington the most likely predator for adult elk would be adult male cougars. We don't have grizzlies yet (that could change). We also don't have any wolf packs yet. Although there are occasional sightings of individuals. Black bear would be able to do it but are more opportunistic scavengers or would prey on elk calves or deer fawns instead.

I have given some thought to this disarticulation while feeding. When we eat a rack of ribs, we pull them apart. The shape of our faces won't allow us to remove the flesh between the ribs without doing so. If we find a skeleton with the ribs still attached, then it was probably a carnivore (of the order Carnivora) that fed on the kill. Of course the legs could have been removed and the rest left to be scavenged. Then we might have something else going on here. But, unless we can see what happened it's just speculation.

As my OP asks... What about the bones? Tooth impressions can be forensically identified and categorised as to known or in these cases unknown species. It is the only way to be certain of what we are seeing. The rest is just speculation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WSA

If I found a bone stack, I'd first think "raven"...you no doubt know what weird and idiosyncratic things they do. But, a bone stack + those teeth impressions tells a different story. Fascinating.

 

The lack of long bones on site is equally compelling to me, especially if the skeleton has no tool marks, as you've said it didn't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BigTreeWalker

When we did a walk around survey of the area around EK#1 we could find no leg bones or pelvis at all. That was also when we found the older (algae green, rodent chewed) hunter killed elk. There were no long bones with that elk kill either. But, the difference between that one and EK#1 was that we found the pelvis and lower leg bones, all with saw marks on them. We even found the hooves and small foot bones for the hunter killed one.

Ravens have always fascinated me while hunting. I've watched them over the years and decided they keep track of the hunters as well as the prey animals. I think they fly back and forth between them. Sometime when things are slow I'm going to try and locate where they are flying to and follow them. I have stayed out of their sight and watched them patrol the forest but it would be hard to stay out of their sight I think if you were trying to follow them. Since they may see hunters as a meal ticket maybe they would let you follow them without alerting everything to your presence. I don't know, just a thought.

One time I shot a deer in eastern Washington and was having trouble locating where it went in the tall grass and sage brush. I found out if I had been paying attention to the magpies (related to crows and ravens) they would have lead me right to the deer. I will definitely know better next time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bigtex

Great thread BTW......you got some good stuff in here.

 

Here's a very odd White Tail Deer kill I came across......it looked like it received some type of super ninja chop on top of the neck and the throat ripped out, to go along with the broken leg.

 

Plus the tongue was carefully removed, and some of the organs, including the liver, and was removed from the belly.

 

It was pretty dried out by the time I found it in a remote area.......why didn't any other scavengers go after this thing, plenty of meat left, and highly unusual.......maybe the scent of whatever killed it scared them off?  

post-193-0-69713600-1429291186_thumb.jpg

post-193-0-46189200-1429291204_thumb.jpg

post-193-0-31905800-1429291227_thumb.jpg

post-193-0-94118600-1429291244_thumb.jpg

post-193-0-18288900-1429291255_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BigTreeWalker

BigTex, Thanks.

I was wondering, was your wolf with you when you discovered it? Just curious about her reaction.

This is how I would approach the question using your photos and description. First I see what looks like the lower throat torn up. Then you mentioned a broken hind leg. Just from that evidence alone my first thought would be a kill by a pair of canines.

Then I would look for possible tooth impressions in both the leg bone and the hide in the leg area and on the neck. In order to rule out a big cat I would also look for parallel claw marks in the hide. It's very desiccated but it almost looks like it was sliced under the chin to remove the tongue. But, I suppose it could just as well have been torn. Without a forensic examination it would be hard to tell large cat canine impressions from wolf or large dog impressions. But if these type impressions were visible I would lean in the direction of one of these predators. Also, I have seen dogs kill just for the sport of the chase.

Your question as to why didn't something else finish it off is a good one. You would think that the carrion birds would have. It doesn't look as if whatever killed it hung around to protect it. There just wasn't enough of it that was eaten.

I can see why a mid-sized predator wouldn't bother an apex predators' kill, due to possible loss of life. But to leave this one alone seems odd. I have no explanation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SWWASAS

Just curious if the small hole in the abdomen thing is typical of a kill in arid climates.    Nothing in the PNW can desiccate like that.    Too much moisture content or just plain rain.     Does lack of moisture, retard abdominal bacteria enough that just the insides are destroyed by bacteria and the skin dries out and acts as a large leather bag?     For sure we don't see that kind of thing here.    In a way you end up with mummies down there.  

 

Bigtex are you familiar with the West side of Texas along the New Mexico boarder?    I went solo hiking down there when I was in my 20s.    Had an encounter backpacking one night that at the time I thought was a bear.    Something big was moving around my camp at night and it would growl now and then.    At the time assumed it was a bear.  Banged aluminum pots, lit my little gas stove, and the thing was around for about 3 hours.    But now, decades later, I recall hearing rocks thrown into the little stream I was camped near.     So now I don't know what it was.     It was quite a climb up there, and the stream was sort of on the top of a plateau, with Texas to the East and New Mexico West.    Anyway you know where that might have been?   There was an established trail that climbed up there and a trailhead below where I parked.     To make things worse, I locked my keys in my car, and had to break out a window to get to them.   My first time backpacking and not a fun trip.    I am just curious about where that was.  

Edited by SWWASASQUATCHPROJECT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JKH

I've read that bears don't growl. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bigtex

Hey guys......I didn't see sign of canine or cat that might have done this, and you are right SWWAS.......the absence of other nibblers was just weird and very unusual. It was pretty well dried out when I found it, and had obviously been there a while too. I came back the next week with some latex gloves and tools to examine it more closely, but it was gone. I had a creepy feeling being there again, and always thought I was being observed when I first found it while taking pictures.......I made increasingly larger circles from the kill site hoping to find it or pieces thereof, but nothing......which just added to the weirdness. Also, it looked crudely butchered, and the cuts could have easily been made with flint pieces that are scattered everywhere in this area......they can cut as good as a knife.

 

Lucy sniffed it pretty good, but the other two wanted nothing to do with it.

 

Also......never been to West Texas, sure would like to go to the area you described SWWAS. 

Edited by Bigtex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BigTreeWalker

Continuing with the investigation of the deer and elk kills north and east of Mt St Helens. We've made comparisons of other possibilities in this area as to whether the predator of these kills is known or unknown. I have commented on the possible animals that would result in the tooth impressions found on the bones. However, we have found other evidence in the area that also relates to an unknown animal.

This is track evidence in our research area. People have problems with track evidence but it can't be overlooked. Tracks tell us what animals are living in an area. They can tell us where an animal has come from and where it is headed. Tracks can tell us how fast an animal is moving and even possibly what it is feeding on. If you can read them, tracks can tell us a story about an animal.

The first track we found was about 2 miles east of EK#1 in July 2013. It was 2 miles down a blocked logging road in the median of the road. The animal had stepped from one side of the road to the center, then to the other side and up a bank, where it had dug just its toes in. No details were visible on the bank impression. However, the one in the road showed pressure cracking along the side of the track. When cast we could also see compression of the small gravel from toe pressure. Five distinct impressions can be seen in the cast. The ground was so hard in July that no impressions would have shown no matter the weight of the animal. I figured the track was made just as the snow was melting and the ground thawing after freezing. At that time the ground would have been soft enough to accept impressions. Access by people is very limited this time of year because it is 10 miles behind a gate and there would not have been enough snow for snow mobiles. The track measured 14" long by 5" across the ball. The Leatherman is 4.5" closed.

post-24465-0-55993700-1429652000_thumb.j

The second track was found on the same day as EK#1, about 500yds away, 8/25/2014. It was on a skidder road pressed into the hemlock cones and needles down to the hard surface of the road. We found 3 impressions in the road where the subject had crossed. I estimated the trackway was up to 5 days old because the cones that were flattened in the tracks had to have been wet to be smashed flat and stay that way. There had been thunderstorms in the area during that time. I cast the best track of the three, which didn't turn out very well because the small cones the track was in, pushed out making the track wider than it actually was. I tried following the tracks up a small bank onto the forest floor above the road but couldn't tell which way they went in the forest duff. This duff is a thick layer of springy intertwined needles and small branches; for those who think there might be any impressions on the ground underneath. By using a step length stick we were able to backtrack it for over a hundred yards through the old growth below the road by following broken branches and other disturbances on the forest floor. It came from an area across a creek and parallel to Boundary Trail #1. The whole area is covered with blue huckleberry which were ripe at that time of year. We decided from the trackway that a hiker or motorcycle on the trail had spooked it. It then ran up the hill away from the trail. Later I decided we could have spooked it because the rough old logging road we came up to get in there was about 300yds on the opposite side of Trail #1. There was no way to for us to see that far through the forest. We had come in the previous afternoon to setup camp.

The step heel to heel was 72" and the stride 144". That is why I figured it was running. The tracks measured 16" long by about 7" wide at the ball and 4.5" across the heel.

When I took the photo I finally used my flash to get some definition on the track. The flash reflected off the flat cones in the track and not so much at the edges.

post-24465-0-79418200-1429652035_thumb.j

Our camp during August 2014

post-24465-0-49298900-1429652113_thumb.j

In conclusion, we found the tracks from two different unknown large animals. We found teeth impressions on the bones from unknown large animals. I trust my skills and experience as a tracker that these were made by a real animal. However, since I didn't witness any of these things taking place, either we have two unknown types of large animals here or a single type leaving the tracks, killing and eating deer and elk, and leaving large tooth impressions in the bones here in the PNW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
daveedoe

you mentioned toes, that creature must have a Bigfoot! unknown large creature with big feet.  :wild:

 

thanks BTW/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BigTreeWalker

Yah, isn't it though :wild: Just trying to present found evidence!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BigTreeWalker

Canine Measurement Revisions.

We found in our comparative research that jaw width is usually measured across the canines or the distance between (DB). So we had to extrapolate this distance from the three impressions that we have in the bones. By using the average angle between the impressions that we have and placing three more points at this angle on the radius already calculated, I was able to measure the distance between the 1st and 6th extrapolated tooth positions. I used the primate tooth arrangement which is 2 incisors / 1 canine per side, rather than the carnivore arrangement of 3 incisors / 1 canine per side. The arc of the impressions better matches the primate arrangement rather than the carnivore arrangement. Besides if the carnivore tooth arrangement was used the jaw would be even wider; and still not match any known carnivores.

These measurements are estimates because I only have 3 impressions to work with. However, I also extrapolated the reference bite (mine) using the same method and then actually measured the distance between my canines. It came out to within 1/16" of the actual measurement which is accurate enough to make comparisons.

Revised figures.

EK#1 adult.

post-24465-0-47485900-1429933160_thumb.j

EK#1 juvenile.

post-24465-0-16118800-1429933214_thumb.j

EK#2 adult.

post-24465-0-95661600-1429933348_thumb.j

Human reference bite.

post-24465-0-96581400-1429933368_thumb.j

This is the table I tried to post earlier. It contains the tooth measurements of the larger carnivores. Canine width is the mean width of a single canine tooth. DB is the distance between canines. Impression width is the total width of all three impressions in the rib bones. I have also added the calculated distances between the canines for the found rib bone impressions. These measurements are in millimeters.

post-24465-0-11032500-1429931911_thumb.j

I posted this link earlier. But it is really good in that you can visually see the differences between carnivore and primate teeth formations.

http://www.skullsunlimited.com/record_class.php?id=1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sunflower

The main reason I posted here as I said in the OP was to make this information available to others who spend time in the field. In hopes that it might answer at least one of the questions I see quite often when bones are found in the field... What did this? It is also important forensic information and hopefully some of the people who work with forensic science will take notice. This is important because with this evidence and if others find more it will build a strong case that there is something unknown to science that is producing the evidence being collected. I know things related to the subject can be and have been ignored. But I hope with enough of this type of evidence that other scientists would realize the importance of this and admit this needs to be investigated more deeply.

We have also discovered in our research that the bone modifications we see here are very similar to that done by neanderthal, some primitive African tribes, and at least up until very recently some of the Eskimo people. We have been in contact with a scientist whose research is in this field of bone modification and plan on having him take a look at our research.

As I also said previously, our goal is to get our research published. Already, one pattern is emerging. Which is that they seem to be using the ridges between Mt St Helens and Mt Adams as travel corridors.

 

Thanks for all you're doing concerning the teeth of these guys and for getting others to help as well.  The teeth that have been reported that I can recall are:  big square with no canines noticed, large teeth, maybe twice the human size but having double rows, large teeth with canines showing and pointy, teeth as big as horse teeth (no details). 

 

My incisors are scooped in the back with a ridge just before the gum line but I found out that not all people have that shape.  Hubby's are totally smooth in the back, so my point is what if the hairy people have similar differences depending on where they migrated from and what the dna might show if we were able to go back that far?? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BigTreeWalker

We are not sure which tooth impressions we are looking at here. We have discussed this. The possibilities could be two central incisors and one lateral incisor. Another possibility is one central, one lateral and a flat canine. It depends on which part of the mouth they are biting with. If it were a flat canine that would rule out the order Carnivora immediately because they all have fang like canines. In primates they do vary from flat, to round and pointed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SWWASAS

Good to be seeing science being done even if it makes the skeptics nervous. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...