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Validity of the use of porcine bone in forensic cut mark studies.

  • Bonney, Heather1
  • Goodman, Adrian2
  • 1 Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, London, UK.
  • 2 Joseph Banks Laboratories, School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK.
Published Article
Journal of forensic sciences
Publication Date
Oct 20, 2020
DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.14599
PMID: 33080061


Porcine bone is often used as a substitute for human bone in forensic trauma studies, but little has been published on its comparative mechanical behavior. The factors affecting mechanical properties and therefore selection of bone models are complex and include the age of the animal at death, and physiological loading conditions, the latter being of particular relevance when using a quadrupedal animal as a human substitute. The regional variation in hardness of adult and infant porcine bones was investigated using Vickers' indentation tests and compared to published data for human limb bones to relate differences to inherent genetic effects and loading influences, and to examine the validity of the porcine-human model. Significant differences in hardness were observed both along and around the adult porcine humerus and femur, but no significant differences were found along the length of the infant bones. Significant differences were found between the forelimb and hindlimb, but only in the infant specimens. The hardness values for porcine adult cortical bone from the femur (52.23 ± 1.00 kg mm-2 ) were comparable to those reported in the literature for adult human cortical bone from the fibula, ilium, and calcaneus. These data will help inform subject selection in terms of both species and bone type for use in future trauma studies. © 2020 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

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