The discovery was unnerving, to say the least. A severed limb found Sunday evening in a yard in Rosedale, Queens, appeared to be the foot of a young child.
A cadaver dog searched the scene. Concern over a missing youth mixed with fears of a child killer.
And then science intervened. Bradley Adams, the chief forensic anthropologist in the New York City medical examiner’s office, inspected the remains on Monday, and decided that the foot most likely belonged to a bear, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the office.
Source: NY Times
Confusing a bear paw with a human foot? Sounds strange but according to Dr. Adams, it’s not all that uncommon, actually.
After a paw is stripped of fur and some flesh, the main distinguishing characteristics are the claws. But hunters often keep those for souvenirs, leaving behind a jumble of bones similar in appearance to those in the human foot.
The mix-up is so common that lectures and textbooks devoted to forensic anthropology often touch on the similar appearance of bear paws and human feet.
While upsetting that bear remains are thrown about, at least there’s not a child killer out there with the MO of cutting his off victims’ feet. How the bear remains got there is still a mystery.