78 MEDICAL , JURISPRUDENCE
Sole.—S is equal to stature. F is equal to the length of the femur measured from
the top of the head to the bottom of the internal condylar surface. H is equal to the
maximum length of the humerus. T is equal to the length of the tibia measured from
the upper articular surface to the tip of the malleolus excluding the spine. R is equal
to the maximum length of the radius.
In order to obtain the stature of a living individual 1.25 cm. should be
deducted from the total length in the case of the male and 2 cm. in the case
of the female.
(5) The age may be determined with a certain amount of accuracy from
the presence of the teeth in the mandible and maxillae, as also from the
formation of the centres of ossification and the junction of epiphyses with
shafts or of bones with one another. For this purpose it is better to tabulate
the reports as under, so as to avoid any mistake : —
Kind of bone.
Centre of ossification.
Junction of epiphyses with - Shaft.
Union of - bones with one another,
Lastly, the approximate age should be given considering all these points.
The weight of the bones is not helpful in forming an opinion
about the approximate age; however, when the bones of an alleged
adult are forwarded by the police and the medical officer finds them to be
those of a boy or child, it is much safer to weigh them to avoid future com-
plications, as some cases have happened in which medical officers were put
to some inconvenience owing to their not having done so.
The specific gravity of a bone, which forms the densest part in the
human body, is two. The average weight21 of an Indian male skeleton,
especially that of a Punjabi, is ten pounds and six ounces, which is about
the same as that of a European male skeleton; while that of an Indian female
(Punjabi) weighs six pounds and two ounces, which is less than that of a
European female skeleton which weighs eight pounds and thirteen ounces.
Children attain half the adult weight at about 12 in the case of boys and
under 11 in the case of girls.
(6) It is extremely difficult to tell the precise time of death from
examining bones, but a guess may be made by noting the existence of
fractures, odour and condition of the soft parts and ligaments attached to
them. In the ease of a fracture the time may be judged with a certain
degree of accuracy by examining the callus after dissecting it longitudinally.
The odour emitted by the bones of recent deaths is quite characteristic and
offensive. It should be remembered that dogs, jackals, and other carrion
feeders denude the bones free of the soft tissues and even the ligaments in
a very short time, but their peculiar odour will be still evident and will be
different from that of the bones cleaned by decomposition in the earth.
After all the soft tissues have disappeared, bpn£s-J>egm to d££orapose
afmm^three to ten_gears:which is the usual period taken up by bodies when
laid in coffins; but thisTperiod is much shorter in India, where most of the
bodies are buried without any such protection.
Changes occurring in bones from decomposition are accompanied by the
loss of organic matter and weight. Such bones become dark or dark brown
in colour, and may be fragile. It is extremely difficult to assign the time
when these changes occur, but it depends on the nature of the soil, the
manner of burial (with or without coffin), and the age of the individual
(more rapidly in young persons).
21. Major H. Charles's paper on the identification of European and Oriental skeletons
published on page 511 of the Transactions of the First Medical Congress, 1894.