"There is very little research on the decomposition of juvenile and infant remains, but it's important to understand the rate and progress of this process -- it can provide crucial information about when victims died and their remains disposed of," says Ann Ross, a professor of biological sciences at NC State and first author of a paper on the work.
"We have worked on a number of cases involving very young victims, and we knew this was a subject that needed investigation," says Ross, who is also the principal investigator of the NC Human Identification and Forensic Analysis Laboratory.
Juvenile - Remains - Adult - Remains - Differences
"It's particularly important because it has been widely assumed that juvenile remains would decompose more quickly than adult remains, due to differences in body size and the way the bodies are disposed of," says Amanda Hale, a Ph.D. student at NC State and corresponding author of the paper. "But until now there's been little or no evidence-based research to support those assumptions."
To study the issue, the researchers used the remains of 35 pigs, ranging in size from 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds) to 22.7 kilograms (50 pounds). The smaller remains served as surrogates for infant humans, up to one year old. The larger remains served as surrogates...
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