The forensic evaluation of burned skeletal remains: a synthesis

Forensic Sci Int. 2009 Jan 10;183(1-3):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2008.09.019. Epub 2008 Nov 17.


In recent years, research and case experience have greatly augmented knowledge regarding the effects of extreme heat on skeletal remains. As a result of this effort, enhanced interpretation is now possible on such issues as the extent of recovery, reconstruction, trauma, individual identification, size reduction, thermal effects on histological structures, color variation, the determination if remains were burned with or without soft tissue, DNA recovery and residual weight. The rapidly growing literature in this area of forensic science includes experimental research that elucidates the dynamics of the thermal impact on skeletal structure and morphology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Bone and Bones / pathology
  • Burns / pathology*
  • Color
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • Forensic Anthropology / methods*
  • Forensic Dentistry / methods
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Skin / pathology
  • Tooth / pathology
  • Trace Elements / analysis
  • Wounds and Injuries / pathology


  • Trace Elements
  • DNA