Analysis of false start bone lesions produced by an electrical oscillating autopsy saw

  • Caroline BernardiEmail author
  • Luísa Nogueira
  • Véronique Alunni
  • Gérald Quatrehomme
Original Article


Postmortem dismemberment results from the use of sharp or sharp blunt instruments. Saws produce specific bone lesions, and the observation of certain saw mark features allows for the recognition of certain characteristics of the saw and its teeth. At autopsy, sections of the skull and other parts of the skeleton are usually achieved using an electrical oscillating autopsy saw. In cases of dismemberment, this autopsy saw may create additional marks to those produced by the criminal activity. In order to help the forensic pathologist to differentiate the two types of marks, this experimental study used a stereomicroscope to examine 130 experimental false starts produced on animal and human bones by an oscillating autopsy saw. A flagrant succession of narrow and wide aspects of the walls (in a “figure of 8” shape), with obvious oval bone islands and undulating striae are patterns typically left behind by oscillating autopsy saws, but the depth of the false starts plays an important role in the variation of the features. In particular, superficial false starts tend to be associated with larger kerf widths, straight walls, and longitudinal bone islands.


Forensic anthropology Autopsy saw Oscillating saw Saw marks False start lesions Dismemberment Stereomicroscope 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Bernardi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luísa Nogueira
    • 1
  • Véronique Alunni
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gérald Quatrehomme
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut Universitaire d’Anthropologie Médico-Légale, Faculté de MédecineUniversité Côte d’AzurNice CEDEX 2France
  2. 2.CEPAM (UMR CNRS 7264)Nice CEDEX 4France

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