Volume 29, Issue 1 (January 1984)

    Human Remains Recovered from a Shark's Stomach in South Carolina

    (Received 28 March 1983; accepted 16 April 1983)


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    When a local fisherman landed a 243-cm (8-ft), 59-kg (130-lb) tiger shark off the coast of South Carolina, the stomach contents included human remains. The distal femur articulations, complete patella, and proximal fourth of the tibia and fibula with connective tissue and a few hairs were present. The forensic science analysis of this material raised some unique questions not usually confronted by a physical anthropologist. Estimations of time since death necessitated research into the feeding and movement habits of tiger sharks, the digestive mechanics and chemistry of the species, and possible alteration of the skeletal material. The fragmentation of the remains spurred extension of usual identification techniques and raised questions of level of confidence of the methods. The current techniques for diagnosis of sex, race, age, stature, and individualized features, and their utility in this case, are reviewed. Areas for further research are proposed.

    Author Information:

    Rathbun, BC
    Librarian, Columbia, SC

    Rathbun, TA
    Associate professor, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

    Stock #: JFS11659J

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS11659J

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    Title Human Remains Recovered from a Shark's Stomach in South Carolina
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30