I'm still catching up on all the recent hoaxes... So here's another one that a lot of people have emailed me about. The fake foot that washed up on a beach in British Columbia.
Five human feet have washed up on beaches in British Columbia during the past year, generating a lot of media interest. After all, who do these feet belong to? It's a mystery. But a sixth foot that washed up turned out to be a hoax. From ctv.ca
A sixth foot believed to have washed ashore on Vancouver Island was not human, although it was found inside a sock and running shoe, according to the B.C. Coroners Service. "A forensic pathologist and an anthropologist have examined the shoe and remains, and determined a skeletonised animal paw was inserted into the shoe with a sock and packed with dried seaweed," BCCS said in a statement Thursday. The foot had been found inside a size-10 black Adidas shoe.
I've posted about similar hoaxes. For instance, back in 2003
I wrote about police in Crawford County launching an investigation after finding leg bones sticking out of boots found beside a lake in Arkansas. The bones turned out to belong to an animal.
New Scientist has an interesting take
on the recent case. (You may only be able to read their full article if you're a subscriber.) They discuss the field of ocean forensics, which apparently is quite undeveloped. When bodies wash up from the ocean, it's usually very difficult for forensic scientists to figure out what happened to the person because there's not a good understanding of what happens to corpses floating in the ocean.
Researcher Gail Anderson is trying to change this. She's chained the carcass of a 25-kilogram pig to the ocean floor and has been recording the exact stages of its decomposition, carefully noting the crabs, lobsters, and fish that feed on it. She's already discovered that fish tend to feed on the face last. So if a body washes up with damage to the face, but not to the rest of the body, foul play is likely. I'm going to add this to my growing list of great trivia to bring up at cocktail parties.