Nav: Home

Researchers determine 'patterns' for bones left on ground surfaces

March 03, 2016

(Boston)--For the first time, researchers have determined a signature of changes that occur to human remains, specifically bones, left outside in the New England environment. This signature or "patterning" can be used by law enforcement to help determine if remains have been moved after death from one environment to another and to separate natural changes to bone from those caused by possible perpetrators.

These findings, published in the Journal of Forensic Identification, may assist in crime scene investigations.

Prior to this study no one had previously tabulated the full range of changes from a series of forensic cases in order to determine a signature for this specific environment.

Using actual forensic anthropological cases, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researcher James Pokines, PhD, compiled a complete set of physical changes to these bones and then compared them with the changes that occurred to large animal bones in the same environment.

"There are clear differences in the changes in bones caused in different environments; on land, these include animal scavenging, algae formation, soil staining and weathering (bleaching and cracking) of bones. These differ in ways from bones that have been buried or recovered from the ocean," explained Pokines, who is the corresponding author and assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology at BUSM.

Pokiness hopes that this study helps to identify a specific signature regarding bones found in the New England environment and that this signature can be compared to those found in other parts of the country. "It is my hope that other researchers will do similar studies in other parts of the country following the guidelines established here," he added.
-end-
Contact: Gina DiGravio, 617-638-8480, ginad@bu.edu

Boston University Medical Center

Related Law Enforcement Articles:

What will happen to European criminal law after Brexit?
Britain will not be able to select which sections of the European Union criminal law system it abides by, as was previously the case.
Paper: 'No admit-No deny' settlements undercut accountability in civil enforcement
The failure of federal watchdog agencies to require admissions of guilt from the targets of civil enforcement can trigger calls for greater accountability from the public, says a new paper from U. of I. law professors Verity Winship and Jennifer K.
Study examines emergency department visits for patients injured by law enforcement in the US
From 2006 to 2012, there were approximately 51,000 emergency department visits per year for patients injured by law enforcement in the United States, with this number stable over this time period, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.
Scholar to talk about role of science in law
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law's Shari Diamond, one of the foremost empirical researchers on jury process and legal decision-making, will address the importance of involving scientists in the legal system at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston.
How often do quantum systems violate the second law of thermodynamics?
The likelihood of seeing quantum systems violating the second law of thermodynamics has been calculated by UCL scientists.
More Law Enforcement News and Law Enforcement Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...