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MADISON COUNTY, Texas – Authorities have opened an investigation after six cows were found dead with their tongues missing across three Texas counties.

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According to a Facebook post on Wednesday by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Ranchers found the mutilated remains of a 6-year-old longhorn-cross cow.

“A straight, clean cut, with apparent precision, had been made to remove the hide around the cow’s mouth on one side, leaving the meat under the removed hide untouched,” the sheriff’s office said. “The tongue was also completely removed from the body with no blood spill.”

Officials said there was little evidence about what happened, the Star-Telegram of Fort Worth reported. There were no footprints or tire tracks in the area where the cow was found and there was no sign of a struggle, according to the newspaper.

During its investigation, the sheriff’s office added that it had learned of five similar cases that involved four adult cows and a yearling, The New York Times reported. Those animals were found dead in Brazos and Robertson counties, according to KXAS-TV.

The other cows were found in the same condition, lying on one side with the exposed side of their face cut along the jawline and the tongue, the sheriff’s office said.

Similar deaths have been reported across the country, the sheriff’s office said.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office did not return calls seeking comment on Saturday, according to the Times.

The same phenomenon has occurred elsewhere in the U.S., according to a 2011 article in the journal, Agricultural History.

Researchers discovered that they were caused by scavenging animals, such as vultures and skunks, the Star-Telegram reported.

At least 11 states reported finding dead livestock with their sex organs and tongues missing, the Times reported in 1975. Nearly 200 cows, along with a buffalo, a horse and a goat were found with parts of their carcasses removed, according to the newspaper.

The cause of death of all six cows in Texas remains unknown, the sheriff’s office said.