Hair and Teeth Biomarkers Reveal Location of Birth, Death

Through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, NIJ has made available the following final technical report (this report is the result of an NIJ-funded project but was not published by the U.S. Department of Justice): Isotopic and Elemental Analysis of the William Bass Donated Skeletal Collection and Other Modern Donated Collections

In the report, authors Nicholas Herrmann, Zheng-Hua Li, and Monica Warner, with contributions from Willa Trask, Daniel Weinand, and Miriam Soto, analyzed “multiple isotopes (carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, strontium, and nitrogen), and trace elements in modern human bone, teeth, and hair from the William Bass Donated Skeletal Collection (WBDSC), the Maxwell Museum Documented Skeletal Collection (UNMMM), and the Texas State University-San Marcos Forensic Research Facility (TSU-SM) and found that the study suggests “isotopes found dental enamel from the WBDSC collections are reflective of individuals’ birth locations, whereas isotopes in hair keratin are influenced by individuals’ death locations”.

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