Meet 'Stuckie', a mummified hound dog stuck inside and preserved by a hollow oak tree since 1960.
Don't let Stuckie's bared fangs fool ya, kids (and adults), this ol' hound dog won't bite. He won't even bark – though he “wood” if he could. OK, enough tree puns, the fact is Stuckie looks pretty darn good for his age, which is estimated to be about 60... or ruff-ly 420 in dog years. How did that happen? Here comes the science!
First though, a little history – fear not, there won't be any quizzes later. One fine day in 1980, loggers at the Georgia Kraft Corporation were cutting up a felled Chestnut Oak. They just about dropped their saws when they made a grim discovery: a mummified hunting dog lodged near the top of the hollow tree trunk.
“Stuckie”, as the cadaverous canine was dubbed in a 2002 naming contest, had managed to climb 28 feet up the tree after entering the trunk two decades prior, probably in chase of a raccoon or a squirrel. While the smaller critter was able to escape its pursuer, the larger dog found itself stuck like a pig in a poke.
Knowing they'd come across something strange and unique, the loggers sent the section of tree trunk containing the preserved pooch to Southern Forest World, a non-profit tree museum in Waycross, Georgia. Curators there set up an educational, informative and respectful display fitted with a glass door to protect Stuckie's mortal remains.
Museum researchers speculate a number of natural processes contributed to Stuckie's remarkable and unlikely preservation. Firstly, a chimney effect inside the hollow tree acted to dry out Stuckie's carcass while dispersing his scent, thus misleading insects and scavengers.
Secondly, oak trees are rich in tannin – a natural desiccant and preservative. Microbial decay agents were thus kept at bay and Stuckie ended up as fet as a pharaoh. For more information on Stuckie, visit Southern Forest World in person or check out their website. (via Newsweek)