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CRIM 355 (15)
Chapter 7

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CRIM 355
Gail Anderson

Chapter 7Forensic taphonomyTaphonomy History of body after death deals withimportant death investigation postmortem changes can affect estimates of time identification determine cause and manner of deathOffer information on factors that influence preservation and degradation of remainsevidenceForensic taphonomyinterdisciplinarybiological geological sciences archaeologist anthropologist entomologists botanists marine biologists geologistTaphonomic Perimortem intervaltimeframe including death and soft tissue lossbone factorsexposure and before loss of fats and moisture from boneAka Circummortem intervalambiguous our inabilities to distinguish antemortem from postmortem occurrencesestimate timing of injury to boneneed to know when taphonomic process come to playTime since death may include some of perimortem intervalex reaction of bone to stress depends on its moisture and fat content fractures perimortemevident by moisture and grease contentpresence of greenstickspiral fracturesMoisture lose overtimeno distinct point when occurred Undoubted antemortem before death fracturescharacterized by healingPostmortem intervalwhich boneexposed to modifying agentsDefinite postmortem fracturesevident by clean brittle breaks usually parallelcross section to long axis of boneMore precisespecify observations traces used to mark passage of time from eath to recovery some processesstages of postmortem change ex decomposition carnivoreassisted disarticulation weatheringfreeze frame define array of observable attributes that mark its presentProcessescomplexoverlapping context specificnot narrow time intervalsEx remains exposed outsidemake judgments about time needed for decompositiontemperaturemaybe used to measure time passageideal to know triggering events of that processmeasure rate and variables that regulate rate Convert traditional taphonomic time to forensic taphonomic timeinvolve determine triggering event for phenomena observed amount of elapsed time after death required to reach triggering event and time necessary to reach observed taphonomic stage at time of recoveryEx bone weatheringdetermine tie since deathestimate time it took bone to be defleshedexposed must be added to time it took bone to reach weathering stage observed when recovered Remains dont just decompose etccomplexhair clothings etc can be modified moved destroyed etcdepend on many taphonomic factors Taphonomic Not mutually exclusive factors categories1Individualfactors dead bring to taphonomic context ex age size cause of death physical properties of bonephysical properties include density etc that influence how bone weathers decompose scavenged reacts to trauma 2Cultural factorsattributed to range of human activitiesex autopsies funeral practice embalming casket burial cremate etcwar genocideaffect remains3Environmental factorscontrolled by temperature moisture content pH soil properties Temperatureprimary regulator of chemical changes rateex decompositionTemperature extremefire to freezing to thawing
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