Volume 37, Issue 1 (January 1992)
Field Recovery and Analysis of Horse Skeletal Remains
In response to a request from an insurance company investigating a claim relative to the death of four race and show horses, allegedly as a result of deliberate starvation, physical anthropologists of the Louisiana State University (LSU) Department of Geography and Anthropology undertook the recovery and analysis of skeletal remains said to be those of the animals. The objectives were to determine the number and kinds of animals represented, their ages, and sexes, and, through morphometric evaluation of bone density at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, whether there was evidence of nutritional osteodystrophy. The skeletons were the remains of four horses. In comparisons of data derived from these skeletons with breeding records for the horses described in the insurance claim, it was established that the skeletons were those of mares, as were the insured animals, and that the relative ages of the four approximated those of the insured horses. The skeletal samples submitted for morphometric evaluation showed no evidence of nutritional osteodystrophy and, thus, provided no support for the contention that death had resulted from starvation. In one horse, the superior aspect of the right ascending ramus of the lower jaw below the coronoid process revealed a gunshot wound; the other skeletons showed no evidence of trauma.