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Lecture 4

Week 4

3 Pages

Course Code
Andrew Wade

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Forensic Taphonomy Week 4a Last Class How do we locate and recover human remains? Forensic Taphonomy Postmortem (PM) changes to body What happens to the body between death and discovery Terms you should know Postmortem after death Antimortem before death Perimortem at or around the time of death Process of Decomposition Breakdown and destruction of organic tissues (4 min after death) Autolysis – degeneration of body tissues by digestive fluids Putrefaction – bacteria reproduce and start to break down tissues, muscles, etc. – Both internal and external Some of the gases insects are attracted to Early Stages after Death 3 stages – algor mortis. Livor mortis, rigor mortis Algor mortis (Body Cooling) Dead bodies cool to surrounding temperature Rate of cooling affected by Body build Clothing/ covering Air movement and humidity Immersion in water To determine time since death – take corpse temp vs ambient temperature Body Temperature Average adult corpse loses heat: 1.5F/hour in temperate climates 0.5F/hour in tropical climates Livor Mortis (discoloration) – blood drains to low parts – 1/2 hour – 4hrs postmortem – peaks 8-12 hours – position of the body – low points – skin is purple – pressure points – white – pattern formed when individual dies is retained – even if body is moved Rigor mortis (stiffening) –
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