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Lecture 6

ANT205 Lecture 6

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Carolan Wood

ANT 205 – Lecture 6 22Oct2012 FORENSIC TAPHONOMY = postmortem (PM) changes to bone =what happened between time or death and time of discovery WHY STUDY? - position, colour, weather, erosion (easily confused) - consistent with: - where and how the body was found - tip or testimony, ie., what was done to the body? (manner of death maybe) -movement of body -by what means? (animal, human, gravity, water) -elapsed time since death = postmortem interval (PMI) -evidence -altered? Added to or lost? -perimortem trauma vs. postmortem damage (not trauma) -determine forensic significance CASE 97-02 -informant claims suspect tried to burn body -bone is fire damaged -consistent with tip? Yes -claimed suspect tried to destroy body -used stick and stir to break up body parts -bone is broken and fragmentary -taphonomy is consistent CASE 98-02 -defense claims defendant didn’t kill victim, he moved body -trauma caused by dragging victim between behind pick-up truck on gravel road -no erosion of bone on back of skull, no gravel pitting or embedded gravel -no road arch -taphonomic changes not consistent with defendant’s claim TRADITIONALARCHAEOLOGICAL TAPHONOMY -disarticulation sequences = loss of tissues -animal scavenging -animal scatter -environment transport (water and gravity) -weathering/ discoloration -survivability of skeletal remains DISARTICULATION SEQUENCES -least stable to most stable joint -joint type, amount and type of tissue -ball and socket (eg, hip) hang on long, b/c more ligaments -hinge(knee) less stable -normal decomposition =bacterial and enzymatic action - highly dependent on the environment TYPICAL SEQUENCE (GENERAL OVERVIEW) -skull and atlas separated from vertebrae -rips loosen, chest collapses -limbs disarticulate -jaw drop from skull -overlapping these stages: -vertebral column disarticulates -weathering begins before vertebrae separate VARIATION IN SEQUENCE -insect activity -speed up of removal of tissue -go to wound (indication of trauma) -sedimentation and burial = fix position -**water -animal scavenging -human intervention SCAVENGING AND SCATTER -animal activity -gnawing, digging, clawing -carnivores -punctures -channeling -marrow coming -chew condyles, hands,
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