Forensic Taphonomy and Ecology of North American Scavengers compiles research on vertebrate scavenging behavior from numerous academic fields, including ecology and forensic anthropology. Scavenging behavior can displace remains from their depositional context, confound postmortem interval estimation, destroy osteological markers, and inflict damage that mimics or disguises perimortem trauma. Consequently, the actions of vertebrate scavengers can significantly impact the medicolegal investigation of human remains. It is therefore critical when interpreting a death scene and its associated evidence that scavenging be recognized and the possible effects of scavenging behavior considered.
This book is an ideal reference for both students and medicolegal professionals, serving as a field manual for the identification of common scavenging species known to modify human remains in North America. In addition, this book presents a framework to guide investigators in optimizing their approach to scavenged cases, promoting more complete recovery of human remains and the accuracy of forensic reconstructions of peri- and postmortem events.
- Examines scavenging behavior through an evolutionary and ecological lens, integrating research from diverse fields
- Includes brief summaries of the taphonomic signatures and ecological contexts of common or well-studied North American scavenging taxa
- Proposes strategies to maximize the recovery of vertebrate-scavenged human remains and improve forensic reconstructions of peri- and postmortem events
Ms. Sincerbox teaches Introductory Biological Anthropology, in the Forensic Anthropology Program, at Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas. Her research spans forensic anthropology, osteology, human decomposition and ecology. She previously participated in the HHMI Interdisciplinary Research Program and is currently focused on decomposition rate and post-mortem interval estimation.
1. An Interdisciplinary Approach: Ecology Meets Forensics
2. There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch: The Evolution of Scavenging
3. Unwitting Accomplices: Scavengers and Forensic Investigation
4. The Usual Suspects: Strategies for Scavenger Identification
5. Making of the Maker's Mark: Morphology, Physiology, and Behavior
6. The Maker's Mark: Taphonomic Signatures of Common North American Scavengers
7. Off the Mark: Ecological Influences on Scavenging Behavior
8. Adapting Your Investigation of Vertebrate-Scavenged Remains