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Caractérisation de la diagénèse osseuse en anthropologie médico-légale : étude macroscopique, spectrométrique et histomorphologique

Abstract : Introduction: Determining the postmortem interval in cases of skeletonized remains is a key element of the judicial investigation. However, few methods are applicable for an accurate estimate of this period. This taphonomic study wanted to be performed in a temporality joining the legal requirements applied in forensics. Thus, the main hypothesis of this study was an early organic postmortem bone degradation, particularly a collagen degradation. The latter has been studied prospectively.Materials and Methods: 6 human bodies without known bone disease were included, and for each subject, the ribs were chosen. The bones were included in a diagenetic environment and studied over 2 years. Macroscopic analysis of bone weight loss was performed, and completed by two methods: one molecular (Raman microspectrometry) and the other morphological (histology).Results: This work has highlighted certain features of the temporary bone alteration on its different phases via: a desiccation highlighted by bone mass loss; a diagenesis of organic and mineral phases. Thus, the study of physicochemical parameters by Raman microspectrometry revealed a temporary trend of declining mineral / organic ratios; decreasing carbonation; increasing crystallinity. Multivariate analysis of Raman spectra allowed: to distinguish temporal groups by discriminating via their organic contributions; to design a statistical model of practical use. The microscopic study of the samples revealed no microbial attack in the early postmortem period, but an alteration of collagen by chemical hydrolysis.Discussion: Our study identified three basic parameters of bone diagenesis that must be known to the forensic anthropologist, even over a period of 2 years which is \\\"short\\\" on the scale of anthropology:- The environment strongly influences bone diagenesis and should be studied as well as the bone itself. Indeed, the study of weight loss of the bone, revealed a phenomenon of bone drying, similar to the overall dehydration of the body in the postmortem period;- Bone diagenesis is a global phenomenon in which the various alterations of inorganic and organic phases are interdependent and can be evaluated by Raman microspectrometry. Also its contribution in the analysis of the chemical degradation of the bone, Raman spectroscopy and statistical tools associated with it, allows the identification of diagenesis classes. These classes will require additional studies, eventually to be a practical support in dating a bone;- The organic alteration of the bone may be due to chemical or bacterial degradation, according to the environment and the postmortem period. Histology can make this distinction. On this period of study, the collagen degradation by chemical hydrolysis is predominant.Conclusion: These parameters form a structural unit, which is well known in archaeological anthropology, and is absolutely transposable in forensic practice if appropriate methodologies are developed. Research on this topic has an essential role as forensics can respond to legitimate requests from victims and their relatives towards justice.
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Yann Delannoy. Caractérisation de la diagénèse osseuse en anthropologie médico-légale : étude macroscopique, spectrométrique et histomorphologique. Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université du Droit et de la Santé - Lille II, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016LIL2S052⟩. ⟨tel-01596011⟩

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