hello, i'm new here and am not in your field but wondered if someone could help me with a question. anyone have any idea how long it would take a big dog (90 lbs) buried in sandy soil to decompose to the stage of clean bone? in my world this is a morbid question no one wants to hear but i thought maybe in your world it would be an interesting question.
it really depends on the weather and climate in the area where the dog is buried. do you live in a dry place? temperate? wet? what's the weather been like between the time when you buried the dog and now? have you noticed any insect activity around the burial? insects help to speed things along. also, what do you mean by "clean bone"? do you mean completely skeletonized & dry with no organic material at all, or just more or less desiccated? you could leave it there for a year and there still might be some flesh there, mummified or otherwise. also, you might run into decompositional fluids & other unpleasant gunk. chances are, once you dig it up you're going to have to do some cleaning. if you want to find nothing but bone there, you're probably going to have to leave it for quite some time.
i'm not familiar with any particular dog decomp studies, but i wouldn't mind poking around the literature for related articles when i'm a bit less busy with school... it is an interesting question. it would help to know more about the gravesite. i'll ask around and see if anyone i know has more info for you.
some classmates and i buried a small deer in a shallow grave (in kind of a muddy area) last fall and we havent dug it up yet but i was checking it out a couple of weeks ago and there was some dried out skin with fur still in it peeking out of the surface. i don't think anyone really plans on digging it up until next fall, but i would bet that at this point there is still some unpleasantness underneath there. when did you bury your dog?
hi rachael. thanks for your response. i buried him mother's day last year. i'm in seattle, which had a wet even for us winter but the soil where i live is mostly sand. i buried him 3 ft deep because i didn't want to risk possums etc digging him up, and so i've seen no disturbance whatsoever of the site. and i've been watching as it's 10 ft outside my back door.
i've found enough skeletons on beaches around here (sea lions, eagles, once a whale) that i have a sense of what parts of a body last longer - though i'm sure the ocean and the sun change things dramatically compared to burial. it's a little freakier i guess when it used to be your pal.
i'll check out that link. thanks again for your help. k.