Document Detail

Can we infer post mortem interval on the basis of decomposition rate? A case from a Portuguese cemetery.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23357229     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Post mortem interval estimation is crucial in forensic sciences for both positive identification and reconstruction of perimortem events. However, reliable dating of skeletonized remains poses a scientific challenge since human remains decomposition involves a set of complex and highly variable processes. Many of the difficulties in determining post mortem interval and/or the permanence of a body in a specific environment relates with the lack of systematic observations and research in human body decomposition modalities in different environments. In March 2006, in order to solve a problem of misidentification, a team of the South Branch of Portuguese National Institute of Legal Medicine carried out the exhumation of 25 identified individuals buried for almost five years in the same cemetery plot. Even though all individuals shared similar post mortem intervals, they presented different stages of decomposition. In order to analyze the post mortem factors associated with the different stages of decomposition displayed by the 25 exhumed individuals, the stages of decomposition were scored. Information regarding age at death and sex of the individuals were gathered and recorded as well as data in the cause of death and grave and coffin characteristics. Although the observed distinct decay stages may be explained by the burial conditions, namely by the micro taphonomic environments, individual endogenous factors also play an important role on differential decomposition as witnessed by the present case.
M Teresa Ferreira; Eugénia Cunha
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2013-1-25
Journal Detail:
Title:  Forensic science international     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1872-6283     ISO Abbreviation:  Forensic Sci. Int.     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-1-29     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7902034     Medline TA:  Forensic Sci Int     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Life Sciences Department, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Coimbra, CENCIFOR - Research Center for Forensic Research, iDryas-GAP Lab, Portugal. Electronic address:
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