I came across the following in an article about dove hunting:

...the study recorded the hits and misses of 5,094 shots with size 6 and 7 steel shot and 7 1/2 lead shot, killing a total of 1,146 doves, 1,100 of which were necropsied.

After looking this up it seems necropsy is another way of saying that an autopsy was performed; the body was examined after death.

When should we prefer one to the other?

1 Answer 1


You'll notice that your quote is about dead birds. That's why the verbal form of "necropsy" was used. An autopsy is performed on human remains; a necropsy, on non-human animal remains. This veterinarian site explains in detail.

  • 6
    I love that @deadrat is answering a question about necropsy.
    – Yuck
    Jul 8, 2015 at 2:24
  • 7
    Your username fits in to that sentence quite nicely too...
    – GetzelR
    Jul 8, 2015 at 3:08
  • 2
    If we ever get a question about taxidermy, maybe StuffedDeadRat will answer. Jul 8, 2015 at 5:52

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