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1.
Biology (Basel) ; 11(4)2022 Apr 15.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35453800

RESUMEN

Animal scavenging by vertebrates can significantly alter human bodies and their deposition site. For instance, vertebrate animals can cause postmortem modification to a body, alter perimortem trauma, influence decomposition rates, disarticulate and scatter body parts or evidence, and affect the identification of the deceased. Animal scavenging is a relatively common occurrence in forensic investigations. Even so, studies on the subject are scattered and rare, with most focussing on geographical areas outside of Europe. For that reason, we intend to collate the literature to provide an account of forensically relevant vertebrate scavengers in Europe, their impacts on human remains, and their implications for forensic investigations. Here, we provide an overview of forensic aspects where the knowledge of animal scavenging is crucial, as well as an account of potential scavengers of human remains in Europe and their typical alterations to soft tissue and, in particular, to bones. In addition, we are the first to provide a guide for forensic practitioners to identify the presence of vertebrate scavenging and subsequently inform outdoor search strategies for affected human remains.

2.
Sci Justice ; 62(2): 246-261, 2022 03.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35277239

RESUMEN

Post-mortem interval (PMI) information sources may be subject to varying degrees of reliability that could impact the level of confidence associated with PMI estimations in forensic taphonomy research and in the practice of medico-legal death investigation. This study aimed to assess the reliability of PMI information sources in a retrospective comparative analysis of 1813 cases of decomposition from the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner in Pittsburgh, US (n = 1714), and the Crime Scene Investigation department at Southwest Forensics in the UK (n = 99). PMI information sources were subjected to a two-stage evaluation using an adapted version of the 3x5 aspects of the UK police National Intelligence Model (NIM) to determine the confidence level associated with each source. Normal distribution plots were created to show the distribution frequency of the dependent variables (decomposition stage and source evaluation) by the independent variable of PMI. The manner, location, and season of death were recorded to ascertain if these variables influenced the reliability of the PMI. A confidence matrix was then created to assess the overall reliability and provenance of each PMI information source. Reliable PMI sources (including forensic specialists, missing persons reports, and digital evidence) were used across extensive PMI ranges (1 to 2920 days in the US, and 1 to 240 days in the UK) but conferred a low incidence of use with forensic specialists providing a PMI estimation in only 35% of all homicide cases. Medium confidence PMI sources (e.g., last known social contact) accounted for the majority of UK (54%, n = 54) and US (82%, n = 1413) cases and were associated with shorter PMIs and natural causes of death. Low confidence PMI sources represented the lowest frequencies of UK and US cases and exclusively comprised PMI information from scene evidence. In 96% of all cases, only one PMI source was reported, meaning PMI source corroboration was overall very low (4%). This research has important application for studies using police reports of PMI information to validate PMI estimation models, and in the practice of medico-legal death investigation where it is recommended that i) the identified reliable PMI sources are sought ii) untested or unreliable PMI sources are substantiated with corroborating PMI information, iii) all PMI sources are reported with an associated degree of confidence that encapsulates the uncertainty of the originating source.


Asunto(s)
Cambios Post Mortem , Autopsia , Humanos , Reproducibilidad de los Resultados , Estudios Retrospectivos , Reino Unido
3.
J Forensic Leg Med ; 85: 102292, 2022 Jan.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34839087

RESUMEN

Forensic experts rely on scene and/or autopsy photographs to estimate the post-mortem interval (PMI) when an in-situ assessment of decomposition is unfeasible. The degree of decomposition may vary between the scene and autopsy, which importantly could affect estimations of the unknown PMI in forensic casework. This study aimed to investigate decomposition variability between the scene and autopsy and assess the subsequent effect on the accuracy of PMI estimations. Scene and autopsy photographs from 94 cases with known PMI were used from the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner in Pittsburgh, United States. The total decomposition scoring (TDS) method measured the overall decomposition level, and 28 markers of decomposition were recorded as a percentage of the total body surface area (TBSA). In 60% of cases the TDS had increased at autopsy causing significant overestimations of the autopsy PMI and 86% of decomposition markers varied between the scene and autopsy. Decomposition progressed during mortuary time lags (MTL) of 3-44 h, where bodies were stored in a pre-autopsy refrigerator at 4 °C, suggesting that refrigeration may not always delay decomposition. This research also assisted in validating photographs as a proxy for real-time decomposition assessments. While the autopsy photographs conferred higher quality than the scene photographs, the scene photographs produced more accurate PMI estimations. Forensic experts should exhibit caution when estimating the PMI from autopsy photographs alone, as they may not accurately reflect scene decomposition. To prevent misinterpretation of the PMI estimation, both scene and autopsy photographs should always be requested.


Asunto(s)
Medicina Legal , Cambios Post Mortem , Autopsia , Biomarcadores , Patologia Forense , Humanos , Morgue
5.
Forensic Sci Int ; 320: 110716, 2021 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33578177

RESUMEN

Conflict casualties refer to those individuals who are lost due to military conflict or war. The involvement of forensic archaeologists and anthropologists in the legal search, recovery, documentation, identification, and repatriation/reburial of conflict casualties is well known. Internationally, there are a number of professional organisations who ethically recover and identify these individuals. However, at the same time, some organisations and individuals have raised significant concerns about working in other countries, understanding specific laws and protocols, and how the whole recovery and identification process should be undertaken. Through this special issue, Forensic Science International is interested in promoting these investigative good-practice procedures, illustrated with case studies, and ethical and legal considerations when undertaking and disseminating these humanitarian missions to the wider forensic community. This Special Issue focuses primarily on the First and Second World Wars, yet other conflicts are covered, and includes the views and perspectives from different organisations within specific countries in the format of original papers, commentaries, and case reports. Specifically, these papers include the legislative regulations, information regarding the authorities to be consulted on and who deal with human remains, the organisations and professionals who are involved with the recovery and analysis of human remains, the process of identification, and how this information is disseminated to the public.


Asunto(s)
Antropología Forense/legislación & jurisprudencia , Antropología Forense/métodos , Personal Militar/historia , Personal Militar/legislación & jurisprudencia , Arqueología , Restos Mortales , Dermatoglifia del ADN , Historia del Siglo XX , Humanos , Publicaciones Periódicas como Asunto , Primera Guerra Mundial , Segunda Guerra Mundial
7.
Sci Justice ; 60(6): 512-521, 2020 11.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33077034

RESUMEN

Footwear marks are one of the most frequently encountered evidence types recovered from a crime scene and can provide valuable scene intelligence regarding potential suspects. It has been acknowledged that impressions of footwear and tools can be recovered from graves, but previous studies have only focused on tool mark recovery. This has led to a lack of published information regarding footwear mark recovery from graves. It is therefore important to demonstrate whether the recovery of footwear marks is feasible and, if so, under what conditions this can be achieved. To address recovery, this study, placed 60 three dimensional (3D) impressions of footwear marks within 60 simulated graves. This was done to assess time (1, 2, 4 months) and at known depths (20, 30, 40 cm). The footwear marks within the graves were covered with clothing or left uncovered. The shoe's design patterns were grouped and counted in a photographic comparison between the 3D footwear impressions, placed within the test-pits, and any recovered impressions. A grading system was adapted by the authors to score the quality of footwear impressions observed during recovery. The results demonstrate that the preservation and recovery of footwear impressions from graves is feasible. The simulated graves covered with clothing showed better preservation of footwear impressions, but there was no clear evidence that time or depth had an effect. The authors note that careful consideration and vigilant excavation skills are needed when excavating graves which may bear potential footwear marks, as their recovery will lead to an increased amount of intelligence that can link suspects to homicide scenes.


Asunto(s)
Fotograbar , Zapatos , Humanos
8.
Forensic Sci Int ; 315: 110419, 2020 Oct.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32784040

RESUMEN

This study investigated the effect of seasonal variables on decomposition in the early post-mortem period using 26 donated human cadavers at the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility (ARF), USA. The rate and pattern of decomposition in human cadavers (as measured by TBS and the revised TBSsurf methods) did not vary significantly between all seasons. Summer and autumn cadavers had comparable rates of accelerated decomposition despite significant differences in both ADD and temperature (p<0.05). Spring cadavers had the slowest onset of decomposition characteristics, even compared to the few decomposition characteristics expressed in winter. Seasonal variation in humidity, rather than temperature, may be the overarching driving force for decomposition progression in the early post-mortem period. Both TBS and TBSsurf methods were poor predictors of the PMI (R2=0.4) and significantly over-estimated the PMI across all seasons, although to a lesser extent in spring. This study also demonstrated no relationship between known ADD and TBS/TBSsurf (R2=0.025). TBS and TBSsurf are ADD-based PMI estimation models that cannot be validated under experimental conditions. Accounting for seasonal expression of individual decomposition characteristics is needed for improvement of PMI predictability in forensic practice.


Asunto(s)
Cambios Post Mortem , Estaciones del Año , Temperatura , Adulto , Anciano , Anciano de 80 o más Años , Cadáver , Femenino , Patologia Forense/métodos , Humanos , Humedad , Modelos Lineales , Masculino , Persona de Mediana Edad , Tennessee
9.
J Forensic Sci ; 65(5): 1752-1760, 2020 Sep.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32401341

RESUMEN

There has been a rapid development and utilization of three-dimensional (3D) printing technologies in engineering, health care, and dentistry. Like many technologies in overlapping disciplines, these techniques have proved to be useful and hence incorporated into the forensic sciences. Therefore, this paper describes how the potential of using 3D printing is being recognized within the various sub-disciplines of forensic science and suggests areas for future applications. For instance, the application can create a permanent record of an object or scene that can be used as demonstrative evidence, preserving the integrity of the actual object or scene. Likewise, 3D printing can help with the visualization of evidential spatial relationships within a scene and increase the understanding of complex terminology within a courtroom. However, while the application of 3D printing to forensic science is beneficial, currently there is limited research demonstrated in the literature and a lack of reporting skewing the visibility of the applications. Therefore, this article highlights the need to create good practice for 3D printing across the forensic science process, the need to develop accurate and admissible 3D printed models while exploring the techniques, accuracy and bias within the courtroom, and calls for the alignment of future research and agendas perhaps in the form of a specialist working group.

10.
Sci Justice ; 59(5): 565-572, 2019 09.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31472802

RESUMEN

There are an abundance of measures available to the standard digital device users which provide the opportunity to act in an anti-forensic manner and conceal any potential digital evidence denoting a criminal act. Whilst there is a lack of empirical evidence which evaluates the scale of this threat to digital forensic investigations leaving the true extent of engagement with such tools unknown, arguably the field should take proactive steps to examine and record the capabilities of these measures. Whilst forensic science has long accepted the concept of toolmark analysis as part of criminal investigations, 'digital tool marks' (DTMs) are a notion rarely acknowledged and considered in digital investigations. DTMs are the traces left behind by a tool or process on a suspect system which can help to determine what malicious behaviour has occurred on a device. This article discusses and champions the need for DTM research in digital forensics highlighting the benefits of doing so.


Asunto(s)
Seguridad Computacional , Anonimización de la Información , Compresión de Datos , Tecnología Disruptiva , Ciencias Forenses/métodos , Intención , Crimen , Humanos , Tecnología de la Información/tendencias
12.
Sci Adv ; 4(9): eaat6925, 2018 09.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30214938

RESUMEN

Previous research suggests that people first arrived on Madagascar by ~2500 years before present (years B.P.). This hypothesis is consistent with butchery marks on extinct lemur bones from ~2400 years B.P. and perhaps with archaeological evidence of human presence from ~4000 years B.P. We report >10,500-year-old human-modified bones for the extinct elephant birds Aepyornis and Mullerornis, which show perimortem chop marks, cut marks, and depression fractures consistent with immobilization and dismemberment. Our evidence for anthropogenic perimortem modification of directly dated bones represents the earliest indication of humans in Madagascar, predating all other archaeological and genetic evidence by >6000 years and changing our understanding of the history of human colonization of Madagascar. This revision of Madagascar's prehistory suggests prolonged human-faunal coexistence with limited biodiversity loss.


Asunto(s)
Aves , Fósiles , Animales , Arqueología , Aves/anatomía & histología , Historia Antigua , Humanos , Madagascar
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