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Microscopic Analysis of Sharp Force Trauma in Bone and Cartilage

Award Information

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Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $45,078)

The analysis of toolmarks on bone and cartilage created as a result of sharp force trauma (SFT), including knife cuts, stab wounds, chop marks, and saw marks, is a specialized area of forensic anthropology. Current research in this specialized area has focused on identifying tool class characteristics, but lacks reported rates of precision and accuracy, which results in the absence of error rates for correctly identifying these characteristics. The deficiency in reported error rates is problematic considering results are subject to Daubert standards of courtroom-acceptable scientific evidence. This proposed research provides for such measures of reliability and will validate aspects of the current protocol for evaluating sharp force trauma to bone and cartilage. The primary objective of this research design is to provide error values for the misidentification of blade class when differentiating cut marks on bone and cartilage produced by serrated, partially serrated, and non-serrated blades. This anthropological approach to toolmark examination relies solely on class characteristics and does not attempt to individuate a suspect tool. The likelihood for a particular toolmark to be correctly associated with a particular blade class will be determined by this research. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 22, 2009