Dogs Found Playing With Human Skull in Alabama Yard: Coroner

Dogs were found playing with a human skull in a yard in Birmingham, Alabama, according to authorities.

The dogs' owner alerted police when he saw them playing with the human remains as he left for work on the morning of Friday, September 23.

According to Fox affiliate WBRC, the dogs brought the human skull to the 400 block of Albany Place from a nearby area.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS) said there are currently 22,114 open missing person cases in the U.S. There are also 14,162 open unidentified person cases—when a body has been found and not identified. An estimated 4,400 unidentified bodies are recovered each year in the U.S, and about 1,000 of these stay unidentified after 12 months, still according to NamUS.

Stock image of a police car
Stock image of a police car. A human skull was found by dogs in Alabama. Getty

The dogs were known to roam around in a large wooded area in the 300 block of Buffalo Street between the Wylam and McDonald Chapel areas, reported WBRC.

It is not known where exactly the dogs found the skull and no other human remains have been located.

The Jefferson County Coroner (JCC) said the skull was weathered and was most likely from a person who had died several years ago.

Newsweek has contacted the JCC for comment.

In August, an investigation was launched after a jawbone was discovered by Marshall County Conservation staff in the Iowa River.

A spokesperson for the Marshall County Sheriff's Office said in a press release that the remains were likely to have belonged to a prehistoric Native American man.

The statement said: "With the lack of rainfall over the last several weeks this has created low water levels in the Iowa River uncovering many river characteristics that are continually changing and normally under water."

In a separate case, DNA confirmed the identity of a body found in Lake Mead in May belonged to a man who went missing more than 20 years ago.

His body, which was found by paddle boarders who came across his skeleton in the mud, was identified by using DNA analysis.

The Office of the Coroner and Medical Examiner in Clark County identified the remains as belonging to Thomas Erndt.

A press release from the coroner said: "Mr. Erndt was 42 years old at the time of his reported drowning on Aug. 2, 2002."

The body was identified by comparing residual DNA in the remains and referencing it with samples found in the person's home or from close family members.

Several human remains have been found in the Lake Mead reservoir after it saw dramatic drops in water levels.

The substantial drop has been caused by an ongoing drought that has blighted the Southwest.