Master of Arts (MA)
Geography and Anthropology
Animal scavenging is a major taphonomic process responsible for damage to bone and alternations to postmortem interval estimates. Despite the significant implications animals can have on altering forensics cases, extensive research on animal scavenging has yet to be done. The most notable research on animal scavenging comes from Haglund . Haglund’s extensive research in the Pacific Northwest led him to create a model for the sequence in which animals scavenge and disarticulate a human body after death. The major goal of my research was to apply Haglund’s model to 60 southern Arizona cases in order to see if animals scavenge a body in a similar fashion cross-environmentally. Aside from the sequence in which animals scavenge a body, I was also able to comment on the types of animals that scavenge in the area, the frequency and timing of scavenging by animals, and the areas of bone most frequently scavenged. A final section of my research investigated the interdependence between postmortem interval estimations and animal scavenging. Based on the data in southern Arizona, I was able to create a preliminary model of animal scavenging in the area. The large number of cases and difficulty identifying remains is a problem that will continue to challenge forensic specialists in southern Arizona. An increased discourse on taphonomic processes in the area will help forensic investigators greatly. The information I provided further contributes to a rather thin discourse on the major taphonomic process of animal scavenging. Continued research and experiments in southern Arizona will create a clearer picture for forensic scientists in future years.
Document Availability at the Time of Submission
Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.
Cantu, Maximilian Hiram, "Animal scavenging on human skeletal remains in the southwest United States: a preliminary model" (2014). LSU Master's Theses. 1223.