A Premature Funeral

Essay by hottmimi15University, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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When a body is found burned beyond visual identification, there are certain steps a County Sheriff, or the officers called to the scene, must follow. If there is any bone fragments and no soft tissue it would be a very wise thing to call in a forensic anthropologist. Their specialty is the skeleton and from even very little pieces of bone, they are able to identify whether or not the skeleton is human or nonhuman. That is a very important task because if the skeleton is nonhuman it has no medicolegal significance. Burned bodies can be found in different states depending on what type of fire and normally if a person has died due to fire a coroner/medical examiner or forensic anthropologist can say whether what the cause and manner of death were.

When a body is burned in a fire there are many different ways the body can be found.

If the fire is a very intense, one with other chemicals affecting the extremity of heat, a body can be very charred and definitely unrecognizable. If the fire is only of lower temperatures on the scale of heat, a body can lose most of its outer layers and the insides would normally be protected by the large muscles. When a fire starts the outer layers go first and dry up muscles. At this point the body pulls itself into a curled position, like a fetal position, and if there is clothing some of the body is protected. The larger muscles, like the muscles that are more prominent on the body, will last longer and protect more bone. If a fire is very intense, fluids in the body will vaporize and cause, sometimes, the skull, for instance, to explode. The longer a body burns, though, the shorter the...