DNA Identifies Human Foot Found Drifting In Yellowstone Spring
It's not uncommon for Yellowstone National Park officials to find human remains in thermal springs. A more than yearlong investigation into identifying a human foot found in a pool in 2021 has ended with a positive DNA match.
In all my years of covering stories that take place within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park, human fatalities from thermal pool accidents happen with a lot less frequency than gored tourists or other headline-grabbing incidents, but they do happen.
Unnatural deaths happen in the park every year. From boiling pool scaldings and hiking accidents to animal maulings and the occasional murder, Yellowstone National Park has had a high number of unfortunate human deaths in the past 150 years.
Last summer, park officials found a human foot in one of the thermal springs. Through the use of DNA testing, they recently identified the foot as belonging to a Southern California elderly man. Investigators believe the visitor died in late July of 2021, and no witnesses have come forward with any information, according to details shared by localnews8.com. Park officials have no idea how the man ended up in the water.
These thermal springs can reach temperatures of over 700 degrees, according to United States Geological Survey (USGS) data. Humans, as well as wildlife and tourist pets, have been known to fall into the scalding hot pools on occasion.
Park visitors need to be careful when navigating walkways, paths, and platforms surrounding geysers and thermal pools and heed all warnings posted on signs.