Use of Computed Tomography and Three-Dimensional Virtual Reconstruction for the Examination of a 16th Century Mummified Dog from a North German Peat Bog



The corpse of a well-preserved dog was recovered from a peat bog in the region of Burlage, Germany, in 1953. The dog, which dates to the 16th century, retained extensive soft tissue and fur on the postcranial body, although the head is skeletonised. Computed tomography was used to determine the extent of the preservation of the soft tissue, to determine sex and age and to attempt to identify trauma, pathology and potential cause of death. The analysis of the CT data indicated that the dog was an immature or adolescent male. Substantial soft tissue was preserved, including some internal organs. The entire skeleton was present, with the exception of the mandible and parts of the paws; all of the bones were flattened and some were distorted because of demineralisation in the peat. Partial disarticulation of the vertebral column was postmortem, although there was no further evidence of trauma or pathology on the skeleton or soft tissue. The cause of death could not be conclusively determined. To the knowledge of the authors, this dog represents the only known example of a complete historical nonhuman bog body with preserved soft tissue. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.