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February 11 and 12.docx

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Tracy Prowse

February 11, 2013 Important Points from Last Week’s Issue of Infanticide  Patterns and rates of infanticide vary between AND within cultures o All different factors playing into pattern; changes of patterns and look at why?  See text re: cross-cultural patterns of suicide and violence  Patterns vary according to cultural (marriage practices), political, religious and economic factors What happens to bodies after death and how do forensic anthropologists study them? Required Readings: 202-208 The Forensic Anthropologist Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team training workers in Ethiopia started training people to investigate missing persons now are considered highly respected group, work regarding mass killings  PhD in Biological Anthropology  Involved in research, recovery and analysis o Most of the time spent on analysis can be called out to scene for recovery o Remains can’t identify them; soft tissue removed, badly damaged  Human remains that are: o Badly o Skeletonized  If you can identify the victim you increase the odds of discovering the perpetrator o So part of the job of anthropologists is to do a biological profile  Age, sex, ancestry  Trauma  Postmortem analysis (after death) of damage Forensic Anthropologists Generally DO NOT:  Perform autopsies  Make the final determination of cause or manner of death (e.g. homicide vs. suicide)  Coroner or forensic pathologist does this  Take down criminals in a blazing gun fight Process of Decomposition  Breakdown and destruction of organic tissue  Two processes that go on: o Autolysis-degeneration of body tissues by digestive fluids acids seep out and help to start breaking down body tissues  Body starts to get stiff and bloated (gas is produced from early decomposition) o Putrefaction-bacteria reproduce and start to consume tissues, muscles, etc…  Bacteria is normally kept in check by body but following death will start to decompose because these bacteria start to reproduce  Different environmental factors can influence the rate of decomposition Factors Affecting Decomposition Most to least important 1. Temperature  High temperature means higher rates of decomposition 2. Humidity  High humidity increases the rate of decomposition 3. Access by insects  First insect to land on body typically blow flies, lay eggs, larvae hatch and aid in decomposition  Scavengers have an effect too 4. Burial and depth of burial (or immersion in water)  Bodies have traditionally been buried so deep because it slows the rate of decomposition  Water also acts to slow rate of decomposition The Body Farm-researched rates of decomposition of human body in different situations Process o
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