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Author Topic: If a body is cremated, is identification then impossible?  (Read 2863 times)

Paul Anderson

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Paul Anderson  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Chris and team,

I understand that the time of death in forensic science can be determined by the type of bacteria active in the decomposition of the body.

Has anyone done any research into how decomposed a body can get before identifiable DNA is lost?

If a body is cremated, is identification then impossible? Experimentation of this could be done with dead rats. In cremation water vapour and carbon dioxide would be given off and probably some other gases.
What can forensic science tell us from the remaining ash? Could the amount of ash be related to the size of the deceased,? That would be the most obvious one and possibly his diet, but I am wondering if there are other things that can be determined. I realise that the degree of cremation or decomposition will impede research. Obviously if some part of the body in cremation were not fully burnt, that would be a source for research. Has research been done into the distribution percentages of chemicals around the body? In that way might it be possible to determine characteristics about the individual?

What made me wonder about this was that I had been wondering if Adolf Hitler had Asperger's syndrome and then I was wondering if anything could be determined from his remains.


Regards
Paul
NZ

What do you think?


 

Offline Don_1

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If a body is cremated, is identification then impossible?
« Reply #1 on: 24/02/2009 07:59:29 »
Dental records can be used to identify bodies, so long as the deceased kept a good dental regime.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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If a body is cremated, is identification then impossible?
« Reply #2 on: 24/02/2009 08:00:00 »
Like you obviously Don_1?
 

Offline Don_1

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If a body is cremated, is identification then impossible?
« Reply #3 on: 24/02/2009 09:15:18 »
I can proudly boast that I still have all my own teeth. Unfortunately most of them are in a matchbox.

Last time I went to a dentist, he said my teeth are alright, but my gums have got to come out.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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If a body is cremated, is identification then impossible?
« Reply #4 on: 24/02/2009 09:18:14 »
Unfortunately most of them are in a matchbox.
Heeheehee :D:D Good one sir!
I've got 18 out of 20 of my milk teeth [^]
 

Offline rosy

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If a body is cremated, is identification then impossible?
« Reply #5 on: 24/02/2009 14:03:06 »
Quote
Dental records can be used to identify bodies, so long as the deceased kept a good dental regime.
Well, only sort of, surely? Dental records work best for identifying bodies if the deceased has had a lot of complicated dental repair work.. a fine set of well-cared-for gnashers in prime condition which haven't had to be patched up will be remarkably hard to identify.
 

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If a body is cremated, is identification then impossible?
« Reply #5 on: 24/02/2009 14:03:06 »

 

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