Very interesting poster! As a forensic anthropology former master student I am not familair with forensic taphonomy but I found it essential and very well written !
Thank you, I really appreciate the feedback. I hope that my Masters bring more important finds and information to assist with forensic science in the future.
A very interesting piece of research and a piece which is significant to the knowledge base of Forensic Taphonomy. While doing my undergraduate research I found that each week an increasing amount of leaves where piled on top of each cadaver and had not really considered how that may have effected the rate of decay.
It is interesting to see that the control samples decomposed at a faster rate during the earlier stages of decay, why do you think this may have been? Also how did you ensure leaves and debris stayed off the control samples during the study?
Thank you for your comment and your question. I am glad that my research is useful for others.
I noticed that the decay was initiated by the maggot mass as expected. I found that the flies were not on the experimental pigs for a few days, which is most likely due to the coverings of the leaves. This indicated to me that the VOCs and smells were not released as clearly to the flies, hence why the decay was slowed within the first few weeks.
I then found that the maggot activity was much quicker later on, which is likely due to the covering of the leaves, hence giving them protection. It was interesting in my study that the maggots ate the piglets from the outside first, as the leaves were giving protection from any predators, whereas they ate using the normal method in the control.
The piglets were placed in small dog cages to prevent any predators getting to the piglets. The holes were very small (approx 1cm x 1cm) so very little debris passed through. I did not want to cover the cages with anything as it might alter other variables. However for my masters, i will have to reconsider this as i will be using full sized pigs, and the cages will have larger holes.
This is really interesting. Although I have done research into the effect of clothing/blankets on decomposition for my thesis, I had not considered leaves covering the remains and having an effect. It is particularly interesting as I have noticed lots of leaves around bone samples I have outside at the moment.
Were the piglets completely covered with leaves at the start of the project? If not, I'm wondering if you saw a varied decomposition within the same remains due to the placement of the leaves and debris?
Thank you for your comment and question. I am sorry for my late reply, i had to sort my horse out alongside the conference.
My piglets were completely covered during the research, however i did disturb them every day when i took my data. I did notice that there was a much quicker decomposition of the leaves on top of my piglets compared to the ones on the ground around the area. I will be investigating the humidity and disturbances for my Masters of Research thesis especially of the leaves as well as the pigs, i will be completely covering the pigs again for my masters though.