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Mar 10, 2008
Forensic Pathologist Role
by: Glenn Wilcher

Bone is an organ.

A Forensic pathologist maybe examining skeletal tissue to firstly ascertain if the bone fragments are human or non human. If there is a partial skeleton or just single bones osteometric measurements can be done to ascertain the sex, stature and approximate age of the individual and race depending on the skeletal remains that you have.

If you have skeletal remains the pathologist will be determining if there are signs indicating the death is suspicious such as cut marks in bones from stab wounds, or bullet holes from shooting or patterned marks from injuries with objects such as a hammer or an axe.

Forensic pathologist can determine natural and acquired / genetic anomalies with bone structure. Common is osteophytes area of ligamentous calcification with osteoarthritis and accompanying disc degeneration and herniations.
Archaeologist have studied in mumified remains and skeletal material the presence of tuberculosis.

less common in developed ares is rickets.
Looking at injuries to bones with multiple fractures from being hit with hammer for example the pathologist by examining the ring fractures and where fracture lines terminate what was the first blow.

Entry wounds of bullets are different from exit wounds depending on the calibre.
Bones are also able to display marks from predation effects such as rat bites.

Hope this provides some information to further your own research on this aspect of the role of the Forensic Pathologist examining bones.

Glenn Wilcher
Forensic technician Sydney Australia.

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