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A review of the use of sus scrofa as an analogue to human decomposition studies

Narayan, Tracie Su-Lin (2021) A review of the use of sus scrofa as an analogue to human decomposition studies. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Taphonomy comes from the Greek word taphos (τάφος) meaning grave but has more commonly been accepted as the study of an organism from the time of its death to the point of its discovery. A multifaceted area, it incorporates decomposition, burial, transportations, and the chemical, physical, and biological factors that go alongside. In many experimental studies, animals are used as analogues when human remains are either unavailable or unlicensed. At research facilities across the globe, such as the Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s Forensic Science and Crime Scene Research Area, other easily accessible mammals are used in the place of human cadavers. Most research is commonly conducted on pigs, rabbits, mice, or rats, either dealing with the carcass as a whole or select anatomic sections, for example, trotters. The choice of these is often dependent on the cost, availability, and scale of the experiment. While these studies present intriguing patterns, there is still a need for research conducted within human samples, using larger sample sizes, and in differing environments. Additionally, longitudinal studies are warranted in dry areas where desiccation occurs, and bodies take much longer than 5 months to skeletonize. With further research, it may be possible in the future to use animal models as accurate analogues for human cadavers to measure specific measurements. For example, pigs have shown similar insect successions to humans, and insects of forensic interest are also common to dog. It may become possible to tailor decomposition studies using animal models to more precisely mimic specific artifacts of human decomposition.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Supervisor(s): Chapman, Brendan
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