A recent study explored the scavenging behavior of bobcats (Lynx rufus) on human remains during the winter months in Southeast Texas.
Animal-scavenging alterations on human remains can be mistaken as human criminal activity. A 32-day study, documenting animal scavenging on a human cadaver, was conducted at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science facility, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas.
Scavenging by bobcats on human remains is not a predominant behavior and has minimal documentation.
Scavenging behaviors and destruction of body tissues were analyzed. Results show that the bobcat did not feed on areas of the body that it does for other large animal carcasses. Results also show the bobcat feeds similarly during peak and non-peak hours.
Understanding the destruction of human tissue and covering of the body with leaf debris may aid forensic anthropologists and pathologists in differentiating between nefarious human activity and animal scavenging.