Cattle mutilation is one of the more disturbing unexplained phenomena. For centuries, horrific, often unexplained injuries and deaths have plagued cattle and livestock around the world. Scores of animals have been found with organs surgically removed, drained of blood, skinned alive, or otherwise eviscerated and ripped to shreds. Stranger still, many exsanguinated animals are discovered without a single trace of blood surrounding them. Possible explanations for these mutilations range from dark rituals carried out by cults, attacks by unknown creatures, and good ol’ fashioned alien experimentation of course.
To throw more fuel onto the mystery fire, intelligence agencies like the FBI have been known to take an interest in these unexplained mutilations, sparking speculation that these livestock are the victims of some sort of clandestine weapons testing operation carried out by the CIA or Department of Energy. Why do it in public though? And what about some of the reports dating back centuries? To complicate some of the theories surrounding cattle mutilation further, an analysis of a 5,000 skull found in France has determined that this Stone Age skull may show signs of early attempts at brain surgery. Why was someone purposefully poking around in this cow’s skull?
The study has been published in Scientific Reports under the title “Earliest Animal Cranial Surgery: from Cow to Man in the Neolithic.” Using photographs of the skull taken in an earlier analysis, researchers believe the hole in the cow’s skull did not result from being gored by another bull as was previously concluded, but instead from a deliberate surgical procedure. The analysis found that there were no abnormalities or symptoms of illnesses in the cow, meaning this surgery was unlikely to be carried out as an attempt at veterinary medicine.
Instead, the authors argue, the skull is likely evidence of surgical experimentation on an animal since “the injury derived from some form of surgical procedure typical of the trepanation process.” Trepanning is the somewhat pseudoscientific practice of boring holes in the skull in order to release evil spirits or treat various mental and physical issues. The practice is still used in clinical medicine to relieve intracranial pressure, but also in some pseudoscientific circles for unsubstantiated medical or mental benefit.
Could modern day livestock mutilations be the product of similar medical experimentation? Are amateur surgeons practicing strange non-clinical techniques on unfortunate animals? That wouldn’t explain all of the strangeness surrounding many cattle mutilations, and again, I keep coming back to the question of why someone would leave the remains in public. Any clandestine government institution would likely have their own research facilities and incinerators.
While this new study of an ancient mutilated cow skull might not answer any of the lingering questions left in the wake of centuries’ worth of animal mutilations, it shows that the phenomenon likely dates further back in human history than we think. See, mom? Perhaps playing with our food is an innately human desire after all.