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Recreating Death’s Half Acre: Forensic Science and Tech Farm Dr. David K. Mills Louisiana Tech University.

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Presentation on theme: "Recreating Death’s Half Acre: Forensic Science and Tech Farm Dr. David K. Mills Louisiana Tech University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Recreating Death’s Half Acre: Forensic Science and Tech Farm Dr. David K. Mills Louisiana Tech University

2 Forensic Science at Louisiana Tech University A Brief History Coursework Research Activities Future Directions

3 Forensic Science What is it? Components- Applied Science Basic Science Legal/Courts & Testimony Facilities

4 Scope of Forensic Science Criminalistics Specialities Medicine Anthropology Odontology Entomology Others

5 History of Forensic Science Chinese medicine-6 th Century 1839-MJB Orfila, toxicology Late 1800s-Alexandre Lacassagne, ballistics and bloodstain patterns 1910-Edmund Locard, exchange principle 1924-August Vollmer, LAPD crime lab 1932-FBI Laboratory, fingerprints

6 Forensic Science is NOT

7 Forensic Science is CS Investigators Physical Evidence Forensic Science Forensic Taphonomy Forensic Archeology

8 Forensic Anthropology at Louisiana Tech University Integrating Field Investigations with Laboratory Analysis

9 Coursework in Forensic Science Forensic Anthropology Biological Anthropology Research in Forensic Anthropology Readings in Forensic Science Readings in Bioanthropology

10 Human Osteology Lab Intense instruction in human osteobiology Methods used in human identification Objectives Aging Sexing Population Affinity Diet Pathology Trauma

11 Investigative Field Techniques Simulated Crime Scenes Pics as model corpses Forensic Taphonomy Forensic Archeology Moot Court

12 Crime Scene Excavation Site survey and discovery Crime scene preservation Site formation processes Site excavation Forensic archeological methods Importance of context and the chain of evidence The art of archeology

13 Recovery and Analysis Recovery of material artifacts Data recording Forensic photography Preservation of skeletal remains Preliminary field analysis Curation and transport

14 Investigative Field Techniques Forensic Archeology

15 Laboratory Analysis and Reconstruction

16 Mock Inquest

17 Each forensic team submits a written forensic case report. Students portray expert witnesses and defend their conclusions. Afterwards, crime scenario is presented and compared to forensic team findings.

18 Model Human Corpse Hormel pygmy pig is used as a model human corpse Document arthropod succession is used to determine post-mortem death interval Patterns of decomposition and disarticulation are documented The model corpse is used for other research purposes (e.g. studies in taphonomy)

19 Forensic Entomology Model corpse is placed in secured cage surrounded by dead fall traps Sampling will begin when first blow fly lands Students prepare experimental area in environment A Two entomology groups sample, monitor and analyze arthropod and tissue samples


21 Traps are sampled at set times in morning and afternoon. Temperature, rainfall and other climatic variables are measured. Arthropods are sorted and counted. Arthropod taxonomy is identified, and succession is determined. Tissues are fixed and processed for paraffin embedding and stained..

22 Research Activities in Forensic Taphonomy Bioturbation Cut mark analysis Differentiating bone trauma from geofact Cell and tissue decay Site formation processes Chlorophyll concentration as PMI indicator Hydraulic transport and differential preservation

23 Image Analysis and Forensic Anthropology

24 Bone Modification

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