Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

Subject Area

Health, Human Performance and Athletics

Description

The medicolegal community relies heavily upon determining the postmortem interval (PMI), the knowledge of how much time has elapsed since the person has died. Forensic taphonomy is the study of postmortem changes caused by outdoor environmental conditions that play a crucial role in decomposition rates. These include local temperatures, humidity, soil, plants, and insect and other scavenger activity. Minimal research exists examining the rate of surface decomposition in the Pacific Northwest climate. The purpose of this pilot study is to analyze the rate of decomposition in the microclimate of McMinnville, Oregon. A deceased juvenile pig (Sus scrofa) was placed in a secure cage in Cozine Creek on February 17, 2019. Data collection continues until May 2019 and includes daily observations, photographs, weather data, and insect collection for entomological assessment. Statistical analysis will be performed once all data is collected. Preliminary results suggest weather fluctuations and insect activity significantly influence decomposition rates. During the first four weeks, cold weather conditions did not favor decomposition: snow, low temperatures, and few insects. Once temperatures reached 13℃, a dramatic increase in insect activity and intensity was observed. Dermestid beetles, maggot masses, and blowflies were present, and within days a substantial increase in decomposition occurred.

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May 17th, 1:00 PM May 17th, 2:30 PM

Pig Tales: Forensic Taphonomy in Cozine Creek

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

The medicolegal community relies heavily upon determining the postmortem interval (PMI), the knowledge of how much time has elapsed since the person has died. Forensic taphonomy is the study of postmortem changes caused by outdoor environmental conditions that play a crucial role in decomposition rates. These include local temperatures, humidity, soil, plants, and insect and other scavenger activity. Minimal research exists examining the rate of surface decomposition in the Pacific Northwest climate. The purpose of this pilot study is to analyze the rate of decomposition in the microclimate of McMinnville, Oregon. A deceased juvenile pig (Sus scrofa) was placed in a secure cage in Cozine Creek on February 17, 2019. Data collection continues until May 2019 and includes daily observations, photographs, weather data, and insect collection for entomological assessment. Statistical analysis will be performed once all data is collected. Preliminary results suggest weather fluctuations and insect activity significantly influence decomposition rates. During the first four weeks, cold weather conditions did not favor decomposition: snow, low temperatures, and few insects. Once temperatures reached 13℃, a dramatic increase in insect activity and intensity was observed. Dermestid beetles, maggot masses, and blowflies were present, and within days a substantial increase in decomposition occurred.

 

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