MAY 22, 2017 8:52 AM PDT

Why we should save dead animals


The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has initiated The Salvage Animal Program with the main purpose of collecting roadkill. But not for hunting or other random reasons - instead the museum is encouraging the public to bring in any dead animal that they might find in their backyard or on the roads in order to study the animal corpses for research. They currently house about 6,000 dead animals in a huge walk-in freezer - and they're trying to determine how these animals have been influenced by a human-fabricated world.

The process that museum staff goes through with every dead newcomer is similar to that of an autopsy, although not for the purpose of determining the cause of death. Instead they hope to preserve the body, organs, and even muscle, to figure out how the animals lived while alive. They are collecting all the information that they gather on an online database that is free and available to the public.

The team's mission is to map historical changes in organisms responding to humans living in an area. They examine how healthy populations are and how they are responding to human activities. This is more than just tracking evolutionary changes in animals; it also aims to demonstrate how humans and animals are evermore interconnected.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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