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Post-mortem interval estimation on human bones

An interdisciplinary multicenter study to extend and improve the current spectrum of methods

Contact: Carolin Hachmann

The rapid, economic and accurate estimation of the post-mortem interval (PMI) of unidentified human bones is a serious challenge in forensic anthropology; the field suffers from a lack of methods for PMI assessment after the decay of soft tissues. Although in general there are many approaches, a reliable estimation of the post-mortem interval based on quantitative methods is far from being satisfactory even when multi-method approaches are selected. Therefore, the purpose of our project is to develop and optimize rapid, innovative, accurate and economic methods for PMI-estimation of bones within a forensically relevant period of 50 years after death. The methods should be able to determine the PMI of human bones within the forensically relevant period with an accuracy of +/- 5 years and to exclude bones with a higher PMI as forensically irrelevant. Furthermore the results  of all methods will be evaluated and compared among themselves. On the basis of the results, mathematical PMI models will be developed during two evaluation phases using logistic regression analyses for prediction of different variables concerning the PMI.