Roadkill Collection Trip

Written by A.T.

Recently, we began to run low on specimens for our dermestids to process. In order to remedy this situation, ZAG decided to go on a roadkill collection trip. We knew that large numbers of roadkill were present on the roads just outside of Buffalo, so C.F., J.H., and I (A.T.) drove out towards Letchworth State Park via back country lanes. We spent about three hours on the road looking for roadkill.

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Our third collected specimen: a raccoon

Whenever we saw an animal that looked to be whole, and relatively fresh we pulled over and collected them. We placed collected specimens in a large crate attached to the outside of the car so that we did not have to deal with unpleasant odors for our trip. As usual, we collected our specimens using latex gloves and garbage bags. We also brought along reflective vests for our own safety. We brought along our catalog so that we could easily number specimens in the field. In total, we collected four specimens: a possum, two raccoons, and a pigeon.

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The collection of a racoon

We could have collected far more specimens if we had been less choosy about the state of decay or intactness of the animal. However, for our own comfort during processing we wanted animals who were not decaying. Since our collection primarily serves zooarchaeologists, skeletons which are intact and have a low number of broken bones are preferred to ensure the easiest possible identification of archaeological bones.

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