Bones on the ol’ RR (or at least on one of its tributaries)

Some days are like chicken bones to quote the immortal John Grant and then others are like…deer bones? Turkey bones? Mystery spines and rib cages arising from the mud?

At Rutgers on the banks of the old Raritan, the RR Team and a few of our younger, pluckier correspondents have seen our fair share of weird bones decaying on campus.

A few years back, on a beautiful afternoon, co-investigator Ray and I literally stumbled upon the skeletal remains of what may prove to be coyote (or another large mammal) behind the University Inn. We were first alerted to the possibility of coyotes in the area by an Inn staff member, who kindly directed us to a winding arbor path behind the Inn, and told us that a coyote had been spotted in this locale. Being stalwart investigators who have no fear, Ray and I soon broke away from the beaten path and began to bushwhack our way through the woodsy brush & densely covered terrain leading away from Douglass towards the East Brunswick side of Rt. 18 Southbound. At the summit of a large hill I stepped on something that crackled, at which point eagle-eyed Ray said “Look out” you’re stepping on something. Are those bones?” Yes, they were bones indeed.

While the bones are at this time unidentifiable due to the decomposition and incomplete assembly, we are still amazed with the size (18+ inches) of what appears to be the spine, rib cage and legs of a mammal, along with some avian bones, and can only conclude that larger-sized animals such as coyotes, wolves or “x” roam the backwoods of Douglass Campus, probably eatin’ some of that fine wild turkey!

The one truly scary question, which Ray raised on our trek back to our trusty vehicle, bones in hand, is “if this is a coyote or wolf skeleton, then what lurks in the woods at Douglass that could kill a creature of that size?”.
Special thanks to JT & friends who added to our “wtf are dem’ bones?” collection!

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