A mysterious mass of tissue discovered in a sidewalk in Southern California has authorities scratching their heads. The mysterious tissue, originally thought to possibly be a pair of human lungs was discovered on a back sidewalk on Sunday night. The lungs were reported to police and they’ve been trying to figure out where they came from ever since. And believe it or not, mysterious cases of the spontaneous appearance of remains are not entirely unheard of.
The lungs have been understandably referred to by LA county officials as “really weird.” And given the lack of any back story and the spontaneous nature of the appearance, it was difficult to ascertain whether the tissue indeed belonged to a human or some other animal.
The transportation of lungs along that stretch of road would have been unique considering the controlled nature of medical organ transportation. Full pulmonary transplantation is a surgical procedure whereby a donor pair of lungs are used to replace a diseased or damaged lung. Of course the transport of these lungs must take place in controlled circumstances under the care of trained professionals. They aren’t the sort of thing that generally gets lost in transport. But mistakes do occasionally happen.
In 2010, for example, 40 to 60 human heads were seized at a Southwest Airlines airport in Little Rock, Arkansas bound for Fort Worth. The story, which ran on mainstream news and shocked the nation raised a serious mystery that had investigators looking very closely into the possibility of a black market trade in body parts. Luckily, this case turned out to simply be a case of cut corners by a private courier rather than something more macabre.
The mystery of this latest case, on the other hand, only deepened when authorities determined that they weren’t human, but rather from an unidentified animal. Of course the discovery of a pair of lungs on a sidewalk with low foot traffic in an unincorporated region of Southern Los Angeles seems strange to say the least anyway. In looking for alternative explanations, the true nature of the lungs’ origin remains a mystery.
Paramedics in training are known to occasionally use pig lungs in workshops to get a better understanding of how the tissue of the lungs work while using pulmonary resuscitation techniques. The reason these lungs are used are generally because of the many similarities the porcine lungs have compared to human tissue, and their widespread availability. To the untrained eye, pig lungs may have looked precisely like human lungs in the environment they were found in. But that doesn’t answer the question why a trained coroner who had gone through similar training regarding the identification of remains could not have tracked down the origin of this latest case.
Still, until the original species of the tissue can be determined this is one mystery that would be difficult to beat in terms of sheer strangeness. Information regarding the lungs is still scarce, but it isn’t human. And the amount of resources required to determine the actual origin may be too great to allot to this case which will likely remain a mystery.