A study of the effect of exsanguination on the rate of decomposition of Sus scrofa in the northeastern United States
Sporrer, Thomas William Jr
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A significant portion of the research in the field of forensic anthropology involves examining cadaveric remains that have undergone some degree of decomposition. There have been many studies published focusing on a multitude of variables that affect the decomposition process, such as temperature, carcass size, insect access, animal scavenging, and weather patterns. There are however, very few studies which focus on the rate of decomposition in remains that have experienced significant trauma and/or blood loss. Accordingly, this study will assess the effects of exsanguination on the rate of the decomposition process in a northeastern United States environment. Four porcine cadavers (Sus scrota domesticus) were used to model human decomposition. Based upon prior unpublished observations, the intent of the present study was to evaluate the hypothesis that exsanguination of remains would delay the onset and progression of the decomposition process. Observed delay of the arrival of insects will likely be linked to the lack of blood as an attractant. The three porcine carcasses utilized as the experimental group for this study were exsanguinated by captive-bolt sacrifice and use of a large-gauge syringe to remove blood directly from the heart. Each individual carcass was placed in a cage to isolate them from the effects of larger scavengers and were allowed to completely decompose to the point of only dry skeletal material over a period of two months. Although the small sample size limits any definitive statistical analysis, the results generated by this study depict a trend towards the exsanguinated individuals decomposing at a faster rate than the unaltered control group.
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