The Four Manners of Death

The four manners of death are the four main categories in which death can occur that a pathologist will look for when he or she is examining the deceased. Four Categories of Death These four categories of death are: Natural Causes: Quite simply when the body ceases to function of …

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Skeletal Remains

Skeletal remains are all that is left of a corpse after nature has taken its course and has disposed of skin, tissue, and any other organ that may cover the skeletal frame. Discovering Skeletal Remains For the most part skeletal remains are found long after a victim has died and …

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Scars, Tattoos and Birthmarks in Identification

There are many different methods that a forensic pathologist can use to make a positive identification against a corpse that finds its way onto his or her autopsy table; and one of the most useful and simplest is that of identifying scars, tattoos and birthmarks that may be present on …

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Determining Sex

Sometimes during the course of a criminal investigation and its subsequent autopsy the pathologist may find his or herself faced with the task of identifying the sex of a skeleton after decomposition. Obviously before decomposition there are detailed differences between the form of a male or a female but once …

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Reconstructing a Face

As we have already looked at in other articles a pathologist, in conjunction with a forensic anthropologist, will try to determine the sex of a skeleton by examining the differences between skeletal frames. But in addition to this a forensic anthropologist will be charged – if necessary – to reconstruct …

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Using the Eyes to Tell the Age of a Victim

There have been many advances in forensic science in the last two decades which have allowed forensic pathologists to become more adept at telling the age of a victim if normal means of identification fail. One such means of identification is to use the eyes as a means of determining …

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Exhuming a Corpse For Forensic Analysis

There are any number of reasons why a body might be exhumed for forensic analysis but they must first be deemed justified by a judge before an order to exhume will be issued. It is important to examine first of all why forensics dictates that a body might need to …

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Rigor Mortis and Lividity

Rigor Mortis and Lividity are two natural occurrences within the human body after death that can be used as a means of determining – or at least estimating – when the deceased died. What is Rigor Mortis? Rigor Mortis is the stiffening of the body after death because of a …

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Stomach Contents as a Means of Evidence

In most autopsies the contents of the stomach are an important piece of evidence, which can sometimes prove to be the difference between accidental death and foul play. We have all seen the television and cinema autopsies played out where the pathologist will empty the contents of the deceased’s stomach …

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Insects and Flies in Forensic Medicine

An important factor in estimating the time of death of the deceased can sometimes be their surroundings, which includes what creatures are present in those surroundings. Many insects and flies are synonymous with the decaying of a corpse and from the point of view of a pathologist – accompanied by …

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