Birds nesting in humans remains: an unexplored phenomenon

Main Article Content

Roberta Fusco

Keywords

Ossuary habitats, taphonomy, nest in the skull, human-animal spaces

Abstract

Ossuaries, designed for human bone preservation, become unexpected habitats for birds like swallows and pigeons, offering a unique opportunity to study the taphonomic signs of this interaction. Birds choose ossuaries for nesting due to the stable substrate of human remains, particularly the durable and protective nature of skulls. This symbiosis highlights the adaptability of animals to unconventional environments. Narratives from 19th- and 20th-century English literature chronicle instances of birds nesting in human skulls, captivating ornithologists, and curiosity enthusiasts. Moreover, modern cemeteries, exemplified in England and France's Breton region, serve as additional settings for bird nesting, highlighting the diverse choices of shelter made by birds. A comprehensive analysis of these occurrences holds the potential to yield valuable insights into taphonomy, bone preservation, and the ecological dynamics of anthropized environments. This article serves as a succinct reference, encouraging further investigation into the unique interaction between life and death.


 

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