Esquire runs a regular article called “Answer Fella” in which stupid questions get stupid answers. In this month’s edition we find out whether cloned humans have souls, why South Dakota’s badlands are called badlands, and how many potatoes make up a bag of chips. My favorite answer, however, is to the question of what happens to the bodies of large animals when they die at the zoo:
According to Brandie Smith, director of conservation and science for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a necropsy–an animal autopsy–is performed first, to determine the cause of death and for research. “We can check all kinds of things, like cholesterol levels or measure the size of the heart,” she tells AF. “We use it as an opportunity to learn more about them as a species.” After the necropsy, Smith says, the goal is to use the remains to advance science and education. When an elephant dies, for example, the ivory may go to a classroom, the skull to a museum, and the penis to Tijuana1.
1- The penis-to-Tijuana thing is a joke. They actually ship it to Keith Olbermann for his collection.