Volume 48, Issue 2 (March 2003)
A Fast and Safe Non-Bleaching Method for Forensic Skeletal Preparation
Over the last three decades, forensic anthropologists increasingly have consulted on fleshed human remains cases in which the examination of skeletal elements is critical in answering questions of identification and the circumstances of death. This was certainly the case at the Human Identification Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona. As the caseload increased, it became clear that a method for defleshing human remains was needed in order to expeditiously expose the osseous surfaces for analysis, yet at the same time, preserving the evidentiary nature of the material. As a result, a fast, safe and economical method for defleshing human remains and producing high quality, degreased skeletal elements was developed. This non-bleaching cooking method utilizes chemicals that are easily obtained and inexpensive standard household ingredients that can be purchased at most grocery stores.