Roadkill Is Sad and Gross—And Can Be Useful for Scientists

It can help researchers track diet, reconstruct food webs, and identify threats to wildlife.

When a coyote dies after being struck by a car on a Southern California road, Rachel Larson wants to get her hands on it. Sometimes, she gets a heads up from an official via email. Other times, she’ll come upon a dead coyote when an intern loads an animal up and drives it to a lab. Larson has worked on coyote carcass dissections in the bed of a pick-up truck and in gleaming, stainless steel facilities that look like a veterinarian’s office. Wherever Larson comes across these unfortunate creatures, she goes for the whiskers. Read more.

Tags: Forensics Biology