Dem’ Bones, Dem’ Bones - The Grisly Remains of an Unidentified Creature Behind the University Inn & Conference Center

By Jessica Teal

The University In & Conference Center on Douglass/Cook campus is an escape to another era. The Inn boasts a fireplace in every room and some of the most beautiful, unspoiled acreage on-campus. It also is the outright winner for having produced our most recent hard-core evidence of strange animal life at Rutgers.

On a recent beautiful afternoon co-investigator Ray and I literally stumbled upon the skeletal remains of what may prove to be coyote (or another large mammal) behind the Inn. We were first alerted to the possibility of coyotes in the area by an Inn staff member, who kindly directed us to a winding arbor path behind the Inn, and told us that a coyote had been spotted in this locale. Being stalwart investigators who have no fear, Ray and I soon broke away from the beaten path and began to bushwhack our way through the woodsy brush & densely covered terrain leading away from Douglass towards the East Brunswick side of Rt. 18 Southbound. At the summit of a large hill I stepped on something that crackled at which point eagle-eyed Ray said “Look out– you’re stepping on something. Are those bones?” Yes, they were bones indeed.

While the bones are at this time unidentifiable due to the decomposition and incomplete assembly, we are still amazed with the size (12+ inches) of what appears to be the femur (thigh) bone of a mammal and can only conclude that larger-sized animals such as coyotes, wolves or “x” roam the backwoods of Douglass Campus. I have been able to rule out a stag or doe due to the skull eye sockets, which are not the round, far-set sockets characteristic of deer, cats, rabbits and raccoons.

The one truly scary question, which Ray raised on our trek back to our trusty vehicle, bones in hand, is “if this is a coyote or wolf skeleton, then what lurks in the woods at Douglass that could kill a creature of that size?”.


Long bones of unidentified animal

Skull bones of unidentified animal

©Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena, 2005