Standardized decomposition rates of human remains in the West Texas area
Cavness, Gina DeeAnn
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Recent requests by law enforcement agents for accurate time since death analysis has led to the necessity for region specific data. This study focuses on the decomposition rate of human tissue for the West Texas environment. Fourteen human limbs were placed in wire rabbit hutches on the ground of the Texas Tech Native Rangeland. Data was collected on the type of animals and insects present and their impact on the decomposition process. Also collected were weather and climatic data for the months of March through September. This study shows that skeletalization of the remains is directly affected by environmental factors. Skeletalization first began two weeks after the study was started and became completed by the third month, in most specimens. Application of this study will contribute to an accurate estimation of time since death for human remains found in the West Texas area.