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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 228499 Find in a Library
Title: Reconstructing the Sequence of Events Surrounding Body Disposition Based on Color Staining of Bone
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:5  Dated:September 2009  Pages:979-984
Author(s): Meaghan A. Huculak, H.B.Sc.; Tracy L. Rogers, Ph.D.
Date Published: September 2009
Page Count: 6
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This is the first study to use bone color in interpreting the sequence of events in body disposition, specifically the use of bone color staining to establish whether bone that has been buried then subsequently dug up and left on the ground’s surface can be distinguished from bone that has been left on the surface and later buried.
Abstract: Five main bone surface colors were attributed to soil, sun, hemolysis, decomposition, and fungi. The presence of fungi on buried bones suggests a prior period of surface exposure. Cross-sections of bone that had been buried without any period of surface exposure were identical to the color of bones that had been initially buried and then subsequently exposed to surface elements. Minimal color staining was linked to the decomposition of excess tissue. The study proposes further research that will include two additional scenarios, simple burial and surface deposition, for comparison. Further, additional research should increase the time allotted for burial and surface exposure in order to determine how long it takes for bone to become sun-bleached and surface-stained, whether color staining is able to penetrate the cortex, and whether the patterns observed in the limited time frame of 4 weeks for each form of disposition is maintained in bone that is exposed to extended periods of sun bleaching and soil staining. Several other research suggestions are offered as well. Forty juvenile pig humeri with minimal tissue were used in each scenario, with an additional 20 controls used to determine whether decomposing tissue affected bone color. Munsell Color Charts were used to record color of bone surface and 2.5 cm cross-sections. 2 tables, 5 figures, and 26 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Bone analysis; Death investigations; Forensic sciences; Investigative techniques
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