Field of Science

TMI Friday: Don't have a cow man !

We begin this week's TMI Friday with a crime scene. Let us examine the scene of the crime, and try to work out what happened.
The incident occurred on the outskirts of Rome, Italy. The body of a farmer had been found in his own yard at midnight. A calf was nearby, and more further afield there were five sheep. No doubt, these witnesses could tell a very interesting tale if they could speak.
There were some inconsistencies in the manner in which the farmer was found. The man was found wearing a shirt (that had been hitched up) and boots and nothing else.
The body was taken to Rome for closer examination. The coroner noted that there were a whole set of bruises on the body, and that in particular a there was strange U shaped bruise on the man's chest. Whatever had caused that bruise had managed to shatter the left side of the man's ribcage and lacerated his lungs, leading to death.
When neighbours were asked about the man's personality, most of them remarked that he was shy, and disliked speaking to people. He was however particularly close to his animals, in particular the calf that he had been found next to on that fateful night. He would talk to it as if it were his friend. He used to have a female calf as well, but apparently sold it out of "jealousy".
A picture begins to emerge. Let us re-examine the evidence. A farmer who is unusually close to one of his calves is found naked from the waist down next to that same calf, killed by a bruise inflicted by a hoof shaped object.
We cannot truly say for sure what that farmers intentions were when he took his pants off and approached his favourite calf. We do not know exactly why the calf would so violently kick his owner in response to whatever action the owner was attempting. After all, they were friends, weren't they ?

De Giorgio F., Polacco M., Rossi R., Lodise M. & Rainio J. (2009). Fatal blunt injuries possibly resulting from sexual abuse of a calf, Medicine, Science and the Law, 49 (4) 307-310. DOI:

For this month, we will be looking at some of the more bizarre situations that humans find themselves with animals. If you thought you haven't had Too Much Information already... prepare for things to get bestial.

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