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Lecture 11

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Luc Bernier

01/02/13 Forensic field’s techniques for human remains Forensic anthro Decomposition: - Two things known: when and where body was found - PMI – time period between a person becoming deceased and point at which body is discovered. - The stages of decomposition can help determine PMI of an indiv - 6 stages of decomposition: o Fresh o Bloated o Active decay o Advanced decay o Dry o Remains - The duration of these stages are not constant, there are a number of factors that determine how long each stage will last - Entire body can be decomposed in 1 week if temp and humidity are right - Factors that affect rate of decomposition: o Temperature o Humidity o Trauma o Substrate o Rain o Scavenging o Covering – attracts maggots = faster rate of decay o Soil pH – more acidic the soil = faster rate of decay o Aridity – dryness of the area. The drier the area  mummification = slower rate of decay Identifying human remains - Characteristics of human bone: o 206 bones in skeleton o Size is not much help, but form and morphology are more important o Short bones – wrist, ankle o Long bones – upper and lower limbs o Flat bones – skull, ribs, shoulder blades o Irregular bones – spine, pelvis (easiest to recognize) Bear paw vs. human hand - Metacarpals has a ridge in the middle – specific to bears - No ridge in the middle of human metacarpals 01/02/13 Forensic field’s techniques for human remains Forensic anthro Identifying burials - Burial site: the disturbance is initially much larger than just the grave site itself - It is impossible to not leave evidence behind when burying a body, because typically there is disturbance in soil and plant vegetation - The grave itself will not have a flat surface, but a mound of earth over it, or a depression - Plant succession occurs on grave site, meaning the species of vegetation will change where the body is located - A probe is used to identify soil differences b/w burial location and areas surrounding it. Be careful not to penetrate into burial itself, striking the remains. - The probe is used to help cadaver dogs detect scents of burials Searching for remains - Most practical, cost effective method for searching for remains is a foot search - Tire tracks in soil and grass are important evidence - Marking pins is ideal for surface searching. It marks location of item for further examination
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