Some experiments are odder than others, but a new study conducted by researchers at Canada’s Simon Fraser University in takes the cake (and maybe the bacon too): in an effort to gain a better understanding of what happens to dead bodies under water, criminologists dumped three pig carcasses into the ocean off British Columbia — and then used an underwater camera to catch scavengers having their way with the rotting corpses.
Just watch the video above to see the gruesome footage that puts a whole new spin on the story of the three little pigs.
Why pigs and not some other animal? Scientists consider them to be the best models for human bodies because they’re around the same size, nearly hairless, and have similar gut bacteria, according to Live Science.
The study has yielded information that might help with murder investigations — specifically the rate at which corpses decompose and how ocean oxygen levels affect scavenger activity.
Scavengers picked two of the carcasses down to the bone within just one month, the third carcass lasted several months.
“While the animals there are adapted to low oxygen, the last carcass was deployed when it was extremely low, which kept out all the big scavengers such as the shrimp and Dungeness crab, leaving the Squat lobsters, which were unable to break through the skin,” lead researcher Gail Anderson, a forensic entomologist at the university, said in a written statement. “This now gives us a better understanding of what happens to bodies in such waters.”
A paper describing the research was published online on Oct. 20 in the journal PLOS ONE.