Title

The Morphological Effects of Varying pH Levels in Freshwater Environments on Skeletal Remains

Date

6-1-2017 11:00 AM

End Time

1-6-2017 1:00 PM

Location

WUC Pacific Room

Department

Criminal Justice

Session Chair

Misty Weitzel

Session Title

Forensic Anthropology

Faculty Sponsor(s)

Misty Weitzel

Presentation Type

Poster session

Abstract

The effects of freshwater environments with varying pH on the decomposition process of skeletal remains can have important implications in the forensic investigation process. Little research has been done on this topic considering bodies are routinely recovered from marine environments. In this experiment, lumbar vertebrae of domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) were placed in solutions of varying pH (1, 4, 7, 10 and 14). The vertebrae were weighed, photographed and documented two times a week for a four week period to determine the morphological alterations that occur to skeletal remains. We estimate the solutions on the extreme ends of the pH scale (1 and 14) will yield the greatest amount of visible morphological alterations such as grooves and pitting. The pH 7 solution will have no morphological differences due to pH 7 being neutral pH. The pH solutions 4 and 10 will yield little to no visible differences in appearance. Although these are strong acids and bases, they are not strong enough to alter the osseous material in a four week time period.

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Jun 1st, 11:00 AM Jun 1st, 1:00 PM

The Morphological Effects of Varying pH Levels in Freshwater Environments on Skeletal Remains

WUC Pacific Room

The effects of freshwater environments with varying pH on the decomposition process of skeletal remains can have important implications in the forensic investigation process. Little research has been done on this topic considering bodies are routinely recovered from marine environments. In this experiment, lumbar vertebrae of domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) were placed in solutions of varying pH (1, 4, 7, 10 and 14). The vertebrae were weighed, photographed and documented two times a week for a four week period to determine the morphological alterations that occur to skeletal remains. We estimate the solutions on the extreme ends of the pH scale (1 and 14) will yield the greatest amount of visible morphological alterations such as grooves and pitting. The pH 7 solution will have no morphological differences due to pH 7 being neutral pH. The pH solutions 4 and 10 will yield little to no visible differences in appearance. Although these are strong acids and bases, they are not strong enough to alter the osseous material in a four week time period.