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Just Science Podcast: Just Dry Bones

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2017
0 pages

In this seventh "episode" of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) "Just Science" series, three researchers involved in a 3-year NIJ-funded project begun in 2015 discuss the project's creation of a qualitative scoring system that indicates major changes over time frames in desiccated remains.


The three speakers are Dr. Melissa Connor, Dr. Eriek Hansen, and Christiane Baigent. The project was conducted at Colorado Mesa University. The qualitative scoring system created is called the Total Body Desiccation Score (TBDS). The two methods used in creating this system are the bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and total body desiccation (completely dry skeleton). Each of the speakers briefly reports on her/his background of expertise and involvement in the forensic analysis of postmortem interval. They indicate that the "body farm" at Colorado Mesa University is suitable for tracking postmortem interval of bodies to the point of dry bone skeletization due to the climate at the site. The description of methodology encompasses measurements taken through bioelectrical impedance analysis, statistical analysis, and scoring for time of death to the point of total body desiccation under specific climate conditions.

Date Published: June 1, 2017