Taphonomic Changes in Vertebrate Osteological Collections


This research project will use an experimental approach to address forensic questions regarding sharp force trauma to various bone sizes. This will produce a taphonomic comparative collection to aid in the recognition of types of damage to bones of various osteologic characteristics. I will use deer and elk limb bones as a proxy for adult human remains and rabbit long bones as a proxy for juvenile human remains. To reproduce various sharp force injuries to these bones we will use an axe, handheld saw, hatchet, and a six-inch hunting knife. The various sharp tools will be applied to the rabbit and the deer bones, and the marks on the bones will then be compared to observe how differently sized bones can impact the taphonomic effects produced. Specifically, we will do eight experimental trials. The first four trials will include one for each tool type on each size of fleshed animal bone. The second four trials will include one for each tool type on each size of de-fleshed animal bone. Comparing tool marks on fleshed versus de-fleshed animal bone will provide key information about how the presence of soft tissue influences what marks are produced on bone. This comparative collection can be used by future students to learn and recognize these key taphonomic differences that sharp tools can produce in adult versus juvenile bone. The various bones used will be photographed and documented regarding the marks and breakages produced by the sharp force tools. This project is significant because it will help further forensic knowledge and increase efficacy of identifying and recovering bones

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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Last time updated on 19/07/2023

This paper was published in University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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