Submission Title

Pig Tales II: A Continuation of Forensic Taphonomy in Cozine Creek

Streaming Media

Subject Area

Health, Human Performance and Athletics

Description

This study builds off previous work determining the postmortem interval (PMI) within the microclimate of McMinnville, Oregon. Multiple biotic and abiotic factors affect decomposition rates. Accurate PMI allows for estimates of time elapsed since death, aiding in human identification. Previous studies have demonstrated the need for region-specific standards and research in the Pacific Northwest is minimal. We compared former results to those obtained from a deceased juvenile pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) which was placed in a secure cage in Cozine Creek on December 12th, 2019. Daily temperature, humidity, and animal activity were recorded. Many unique features were observed: active decay lasting 2.5 times longer, orange biofilm at the axilla and groin, complete adipocere coverage, presence of a foam cone (<10 >cm), and bloat lasting several months. Temperature and humidity rose to levels necessary for insect activity in March, and maggot masses formed at location of the biofilm. Soft tissue decomposition proceeded quickly, then leveled off, leaving a large, sludge-colored biomass with active maggots (1 cm length) for several weeks, dissipating in early May. The differences in decomposition occurred for several reasons: the swine was much larger, the environment was moister, and there was a long cold period with no insect activity.

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Pig Tales II: A Continuation of Forensic Taphonomy in Cozine Creek

This study builds off previous work determining the postmortem interval (PMI) within the microclimate of McMinnville, Oregon. Multiple biotic and abiotic factors affect decomposition rates. Accurate PMI allows for estimates of time elapsed since death, aiding in human identification. Previous studies have demonstrated the need for region-specific standards and research in the Pacific Northwest is minimal. We compared former results to those obtained from a deceased juvenile pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) which was placed in a secure cage in Cozine Creek on December 12th, 2019. Daily temperature, humidity, and animal activity were recorded. Many unique features were observed: active decay lasting 2.5 times longer, orange biofilm at the axilla and groin, complete adipocere coverage, presence of a foam cone (<10>cm), and bloat lasting several months. Temperature and humidity rose to levels necessary for insect activity in March, and maggot masses formed at location of the biofilm. Soft tissue decomposition proceeded quickly, then leveled off, leaving a large, sludge-colored biomass with active maggots (1 cm length) for several weeks, dissipating in early May. The differences in decomposition occurred for several reasons: the swine was much larger, the environment was moister, and there was a long cold period with no insect activity.