DNA Tests for Fallen and Buried Soldiers at Fromelles

On 19-20 July 1916, the Battle of Fromelles was fought in France during World War I. It was the first time that Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) saw action on the Western Front, and 5,533 Australian soldiers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner in an operation that the Australian War Memorial describes as the “worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history.” To compound the misery, the Germans buried the bodies of the Australian dead in mass graves shortly after the battle.

One Solution for Eternal Preservation

Do you want to be preserved for eternity once you’ve died? One solution to this problem of eternal preservation was discovered by Dr. Bill Bass (creator of the Body Farm) in 2006, when J.P. Richardson, III asked Dr. Bass to examine the body of his father upon exhumation. Richardson’s father – Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr. – was known as the “Big Bopper,” or the musician/songwriter who died in the plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and Richie Valens in 1959.

Finding Human Remains:What to do

Are you a hunter, hiker, construction worker or gardener? Chances that you’ll find human remains while conducting any of these activities are small, but findings do occur. And, these findings seem to occur on a regular basis, if news articles are any indication. Usually, the bones won’t be in order, such as the ones shown in the photograph to the left. Most likely, the upper portion of a skull or a jawbone is the portion of the body that most people recognize, and this finding may lead the discoverers to take that skull to the police.

Identifying Drowning Victims

If your worst fear is death by drowning, then you may worry more when you realize that many forensic experts may not be able determine if a victim was dead or alive when he entered the water. Such a case recently made news when an Air France plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in July. Only after fifty bodies were examined and shown to have broken bones, did the examiners state that those individuals either died in the air or upon impact.

Current Funeral Home Fiascos

Are you worried about receiving ashes (as in wood ashes) instead of your loved one’s cremains? Or, are you fighting for a body to be released from a funeral home? You wouldn’t be alone in both cases, as funeral homes in this country throughout July played some morbid and damaging games with clients. In other cases, some funeral directors and homes were sentenced to pay for damages this month for their parts in previous schemes.

“The fact that we survive at all is a miracle…”

How do you react to death? Do you ignore it, become fearful or nauseated? Some people react to death with humor, hence television series such as Six Feet Under, which opened each week’s episode with a new way to die. Now, you can watch 1,000 Ways to Die from Spike TV, and if you missed any episodes on television, you can watch it online.

The Body Farms

A “body farm” is a research facility where human decomposition after death is studied in a variety of settings to gain a better understanding of this process within the field of forensic anthropology and related disciplines. The information gleaned from these facilities is widely used by law enforcement, medical examiners and crime scene investigators. Although the first body farm was created almost thirty years ago, today three such facilities operate in the U.S.

Autopsy: Dissection

Dissection of a corpse during an autopsy follows the external examination when the corpse still contains tissues and organs that can be examined. The steps that a medical examiner may take in the internal examination include the following:

Autopsy: The External Examination

In a previous article, we wrote that the objective behind an autopsy, also known as a post-mortem examination, necropsy, or obduction, is to examine a corpse to determine a cause of death or to evaluate any disease or injury that was present at the time of death. To make that evaluation, several activities are conducted once the body arrives at the morgue and placed onto an autopsy table.

The Four Manners of Death

Have you ever wondered how many ways someone can die? The cause of death is the reason an individual dies. This means that a heart attack, any chronic disease, a gunshot wound or a skull fracture are causes of death. However, each cause can alter an individual’s physiology in different ways. For instance, a gunshot would may not be fatal to one person, but another person may died from that cause. The mechanism of death, then, would represent that actual change that causes a victim to die.