What annotations would you add to an observation of a bone from an animal which may still be alive? When it’s more ambiguous, I mean – like finding the foot-bones of a cat, which can survive without a foot (unlikely as it is in the wild). If you found ribs, the cat is certainly dead. But a foot? part of a tail? Do I mark it as dead, or cannot be determined?
Cannot be determined, I guess, although it does seem unlikely that it would still be alive. Unless it’s something where it could survive for a little while, but not long, in which case I would just assume it’s dead somewhere else.
I wouldn’t care about those very rare cases, it’s 99.9% from a dead animal, and what you meet is a dead animal part, as cats can’t shed their limbs as lizards, you can safely assume cat is gone. I saw tons of dead cats and especially in open space they’re pretty fast separated, so you can find a separate limb, and if someone ate them, this too.
The obs is for the bit you found. Which is. Very dead.
We cannot know if the invisible rest of the animal is walking wounded or also dead.
yes, I forgot to add that in the start – if the observation is for the part which I found, then the status of the rest of the animal is irrelevant.
Your initial question makes me think of vivisection or torture. Extracting a ‘bone from a living animal’
Ouch. I wouldn’t, but I don’t think a carnivorous predator has such qualms.
A found bone is ‘evidence of presence’. In the same way I cannot know if the creature that left tracks or scat, is living as I put that obs on iNat. It WAS living when the evidence was made, but now?
If a carnivorous predator only managed to catch a foot, then a scavenger has claimed the walking wounded later.
I mean, the bone is part of an animal that is dead, perhaps the other part of the animal is alive somewhere, but barring super gruesome scenarios, if you find a cat foot bone, that part of the cat is dead. I say just mark it dead. If you see a three legged cat running around that would be marked as alive.
I consulted my three-legged dog and she said that seemed like a reasonable interpretation.
if a coyote bites off a pet’s leg and spits it out, does the leg become wild even though the rest of the pet is not, because a human did not put it there?
I majored in biology, not philosophy.
I’d say it’s reasonable for cats, but not always, you find a lizard tail and can’t really say (if it’s damaged) if lizard is dead, because most likely it’s alive.
no but my point is what you are observing is dead. If you observe a wiggling lizard tail only, mark it as alive. Any other remnants of lizard tail, mark as dead, because the tail is dead. You aren’t observing the rest of the lizard.
I think that if any bones are found for a vertebrate animals (except maybe tail bones of lizards), that vertebrate should be assumed to be dead unless proven otherwise. Dead should be the default.
But tail is not a separate animal, so it should be marked as cannot be determined when there’re big chances of both scenarios.
Neither are feathers, but we still count a feather as evidence of an animal. Even if there is also a bird nearby. Bones aren’t animals per se, although it’s more of a grey area the more of the skeleton you find together.
Oh and it should go without saying that bone-like structures such as shed antlers, and bones that are meant to separate such as sharks’ teeth, are certainly “cannot be determined”.
We mark feathers an tracks (not from obvious kills) as “cannot be determibed”, so yeah, it’s kinda the same.
True. But birds are known to lose feathers, where Mammals are not known to drop legs, etc. Ultimately, I think marking it dead or unknown makes a great deal of difference in the long run. I suspect marking the observation as dead, or unknown will not have any effect on the observation! Now, if was an insect leg, that’s a whole different ballgame…