Yuck: Discarded meat might hold answers to what’s happening to Canada’s Northland

Decades worth of stinky bones have been found piled in a Riverview, N.L., backyard, and the new contraband might hold some clues about why the region has suffered in recent decades.

At the very least, it gives you a fun way to get more out of your Northland summer.

In the 1970s, rancher Carl Pigeon created a couple of raised beds of barley and pulses on his grassy property and planted his own potatoes. He’s been slowly converting more land into a growing patch ever since.

“Our family has been growing crops for the past 30 years. What’s become really exciting, in the last five years, is the kind of opportunity we have now to improve our land,” Pigeon, who is president of the Wolf Mountain Farming Association, told CBC News.

“Grass roots is where the pioneers are going. And they’re being pushed by climate change and the fact that we have to produce more,” Pigeon said.

The recent harvest of the crops hasn’t set off a frenzy of forage, and the Moose is still way below the historic average.

The dirt is flecked with pencil marks, and some bones are covered in moss. And none of it is immediately visible until you’re willing to walk on top of it. (In the slow lane. Like through a field of wheat.)

Pigeon decided to bury a few deer, goat and moose, expecting to collect at least one bone with a valuable size in each. But once everyone started arriving, one local archaeologist discovered that it wasn’t worth the hassle.

Because of a geological quirk in the region’s fauna, the bones are concentrated in just five or six spots, CBC reports.

All of the large bones went up quickly, but the tiny, small and “bony” ones are on the other side of the hill.

The researchers now suspect the reasons the bones exist in the area are mechanical, as well as structural. If the bones were dry, they probably would not be located so far together.

“In a wet climate, some of these bones would be plentiful, but in the dry climate where there’s drought, some will go bad,” Antoinette Brolly, a PhD candidate at the University of New Brunswick, told CBC.

“Animals chew on these bones, some of them become festering, and sometimes you’ll have ranchers who suffer cattle problems that are caused by dry bones.”

There’s no way to prove how they got there, but digging them up might reveal more about the population, Pigeon told CBC.

“It’s not a science, it’s a curiosity. But it’s an interesting curiosity. Something we can pass on to our kids and grandchildren.”

So enjoy that popcorn and watch those moose jaws clench.

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