Title page for ETD etd-1111102-115404

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Allaire, Maria T.
URN etd-1111102-115404
Title Postmortem Interval (PMI) Determination at Three Biogeoclimatic Zones in Southwest Colorado
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Geography and Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Mary H. Manhein Committee Chair
M. Jill Brody Committee Member
Robert G. Tague Committee Member
  • postmortem interval
  • carrion decomposition
  • biogeoclimatic zones
  • arthropod succession
  • forensic science
  • southwest colorado
Date of Defense 2002-10-23
Availability unrestricted
Three pig (Sus scrofa L.) carcasses were exposed during the summer in three different biogeoclimatic zones ranging in elevations from 6,700 to 11,100 feet in order to determine the rates of carrion decomposition and arthropod succession patterns on carrion in southwest Colorado. The carcasses were exposed in three scenarios: sun-exposed, shaded, and sun-exposed/shaded. Of the total 63 taxa collected, thirty species overlapped between two biogeoclimatic zones. A strong elevational preference is indicated for the Sarcophagidae taxon. A previously undescribed Boettcheria species was collected at 11,100 feet. The rates of decomposition lengthened as elevation increased due to a prolongation of the bloat stage. Natural mummification occurred at the two highest elevational sites. The meteorological data recorded at the local NOAA stations did not reflect the weather conditions that occurred during the same time period in the three biogeoclimatic zones.
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