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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 217637 Find in a Library
Title: Differentiating Human Bone From Animal Bone: A Review of Histological Methods
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:52  Issue:2  Dated:March 2007  Pages:249-263
Author(s): Maria L. Hillier M.Sc.; Lynne S. Bell Ph.D.
Date Published: March 2007
Page Count: 15
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This literature review examined whether it was possible to distinguish human from nonhuman bone by using the histological appearance (microscopic study of tissue structure) of cortical (outer layer) bone.
Abstract: The review found that the histological examination of small bone fragments could distinguish certain nonhuman species from humans. These nonhuman species include the following smaller mammals: rats, cats, dogs, rabbits, badgers, and raccoon dog. The bones of deer could also be distinguished from human bone. This differentiation is based on differences in the general appearance of cortical bone tissue and the size of histological microstructures, namely, Haversian system diameter, Haversian canal diameter, and Haversian system density. The bones of other mammals--including the larger species of goat, sheep, cow, pig, horse, and water buffalo--were distinguished from human cortical bone when plexiform bone tissue was present. When plexiform bone tissue is absent, however, due to perimortem and postmortem alteration, differentiation between human and certain animal species may not be successful due to commonly shared cortical bone Haversian tissue microstructure. Attention to the preservation of the bone fragment is therefore important. Since nonhuman primates share similar cortical bone histology with humans, their bones cannot be differentiated from human bone. The topics discussed in this literature review are microscopic applications and techniques; diagenetic, perimortem, and postmortem alteration of bone; mammalian bone structure and tissue types; human bone tissue microstructure; nonhuman mammalian bone tissue microstructure; the quantification of microstructure in human and nonhuman species; and variation in human and nonhuman mammalian cortical bone. Also discussed are specific bones in humans and nonhumans, bone portion in humans and nonhumans, sex, age, and pathological conditions. 10 tables, 6 figures, and 129 references
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Bone analysis; Death investigations; Forensic sciences; Investigative techniques; Victim identification
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