The Effects of pH on the Decay of Animal Bones


  • Nanthanat Chumpirom Texas A&M University
  • Dr. Adrienne Brundage
  • Gabrielle Thornton


It is a well-known fact in the forensic community that the process of soft tissue decomposition lasts much longer when the cadaver is submerged in an aqueous environment. Studies of this nature with skeletal remains are less frequently produced, and therefore there is not much supported knowledge about whether human bones would face similar effects. The human skeleton potentially undergoes physical changes over various environmental conditions, but their changes in liquid conditions are poorly understood. This experiment was a study on the macroscopic effects that pH may have on the degradation of animal bones. Various small animal bones were placed in common household solutions of differing pH for the purpose of recording any physical changes. The only notable changes observed over the course of the experiment were the drastic discoloration of solutions with higher acidity, as well as the production of sediment-like residue in the saltwater solution. Further investigation into this in the context of potential body disposal could prove useful for the future of forensic science.