Postmortem animal activity is an important step in incorporating protein, fat, and carbohydrates in corpses to the food chain. Many animal species are members of this food chain. Outdoor corpses may be attacked by many predacious and scavenger animals and exposed to complete destruction, and bones and belongings of the dead person may be scattered all over a large area due to postmortem animal activity. Indoor corpses may be attacked by pets, domestic dogs, cats, ants, and rodents during postmortem period. Besides, if the corpse is in shallow water, other terrestrial predators may harm the corpse. The most important issue in the presence of lesions on the corpse caused by animals is to accurately discriminate between antemortem and postmortem wounds. The extent of the lesions caused by the animals varies according to the sizes of their dentition and jaws, but they share some common characteristics. Lack of bleeding from bitten tissue excepting small amount of extravasated blood, absence of active bleeding, edema, and erythema on the edges of the wound are among these shared characteristics. In this chapter, the subject of postmortem animal attacks on human corpses will be evaluated by revising the recent references.
Part of the book: Post Mortem Examination and Autopsy