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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222150 Find in a Library
Title: Perimortem or Postmortem Bone Fractures?: An Experimental Study of Fracture Patterns in Deer Femora
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:53  Issue:1  Dated:January 2008  Pages:69-72
Author(s): Bruce P. Wheatley Ph.D.
Date Published: January 2008
Page Count: 4
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using 76 deer femora of various ages since death, this study examined any differentiating characteristics of bones broken before death and those broken after death.
Abstract: Although the attributes of the fracture patterns used in this study were found to be reliable in differentiating perimortem fractures from postmortem fractures at the statistical level, they were unreliable at differentiating a perimortem fracture from a postmortem fracture on a bone for forensic investigation; for example, with the exception of one jagged fracture outline, all seven of the features of so-called wet bone fractures were seen on 1-year old bones. Therefore, a perimortem determination should be made with caution and include many of the other important features not tested in this study, such as differential staining or color differences between the fracture surface and the outer cortical surface, hinging, hematoma stains, and greenstick fractures. A Drop Weight Impact Test Machine was used to break 76 deer femora of various ages since death. The femora were divided into 2 groups: a fresh or wet group of 42 femora and a dry group of 34 femora. Bones exposed for a few days can be considered fresh (six), and this group is defined as less than 4 days since death at the time of fracture. Twenty-one of these bones were less than 2-days old, and 21 bones were less than 4 days old. The dry group of 34 femora were either 44 days (n=14) or 1 year (n=20) since death at the time of fracture. Forty-six femora were adult (completely fused) and 30 femora were not completely fused. Both the proximal and the distal ends of each fractured bone were visually examined for various attributes. The scored attributes are outlined in this paper. 2 figures, 3 tables, and 19 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Bone analysis; Death investigations; Forensic sciences; Homicide investigations; Victim identification
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