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Heart Found in East Village Trash Can Not Human, Authorities Say

By Kathleen Culliton | October 12, 2016 1:33pm

EAST VILLAGE — The heart found in an Riis Houses garbage receptacle last week was not human and is most likely a pig’s, according to the New York City Medical Examiner’s office.

The organ was inside a box that also contained a potted plant, which was found by a 67-year-old man looking through a trash bin near the FDR Drive and East Sixth Street on Oct. 5, police said.

The unidentified heart was taken to the Medical Examiner’s office, which determined the tissue was not human and possibly porcine, a spokeswoman said.

The investigation was closed once the heart was classified as non-human, so it was unclear why the animal organ was discarded, the spokeswoman said. 

Pig hearts are sometimes used in cooking — they are featured in recipes that are part of the Paleo diet and are the staple ingredient of several international dishes, including Bopis in the Philippines and Sarapatel in Brazil.

Pig hearts resemble human hearts so closely that scientists are currently experimenting with xenotransplantation, the transplant of genetically modified pig hearts into humans, and have done so successfully with a baboon.