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Anthro 112- Introduction to Forensic Anthropology > Forensic Taphonomy > Flashcards

Flashcards in Forensic Taphonomy Deck (7)
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1

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER TAPHONOMY?

  • Helps in establishing PMI
  • Critical in distinguishing ante, peri and postmortem trauma
  • Post changes can mimic pathologies, this needs to be distinguished
  • Conversely taphonomic changes can mask perimortem injuries
  • Can provide clues about circumstances surrounding death (aka ones caused by humans)

2

DISMEMBERMENT

  • 1o form of postmortem damage caused by humans
  • Difference in meaning cross-culturally however in WESTERN contexts:
    -shows contempt/maliciousness towards the victim
    -conceals ID of vic
    -evidence of dismemberment <=> synonymous with homicide
  • Difficult to analyze when bones are dispersed after dismemberment
  • Types:
    -Conceal: head, fingers, hands; lower body generally removed for ease of transport
    -Hatred/Contempt: more extensive, at all major joints
  • Other considerations:
    -Did perp have anat knowledge? Were cuts clean?
    -Were there hesitation marks?
    =>> Can help us determine state of mind/ID of perp

3

DISMEMBERMENT: ANALYSIS

  • Photography
  • Soft tissues should be removed
  • If bones are to be returned, removal of bone 3 inches per side from cut marks for analysi
  • Molds and casts can be taken of the cut marks to give clear idea about the "floors"

4

DISMEMBERMENT: SAWS

  • Two types of saws:
    -crosscut: blades at 70 deg to long axis
    more teeth per inch
    create finer striations, often machine powered
    -rip: blades at 90 deg to long axis
    less teeth per inch
    create larger striations, often hand held

5

SAWS: KERFING

  • blades are bent away from long axis, this causes cut to be wider than distance between teeth

6

SAWS: TYPES OF MARKS LEFT AND ANALYSIS

  • Superficial false start scratches, as well as false start kerfs due to sawblade bouncing around
  • Deep kerf cuts: helpful in determining weapon
  • Breakaway spurs: fragments of kerf floors

    Analysis:
  • Precise location of sawmarks on bone: includes number of false starts and real cuts
  • Direction of cuts: -false starts
    -breakaway spurs
    -chipping on exit side of push
  • Tool type: -Blade width, kerf size
    -circular vs. straight striations
  • Source of energy: -Machine: finer striae, straight kerf walls
    -Hand: rougher and uneven kerf walls
  • However, analysis can't tell us about actual # of teeth on saws

7

ANIMAL SCAVENGING