International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 123, Issue 2, pp 129–135

Differentiation of serrated and non-serrated blades from stab marks in bone

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00414-008-0275-x

Cite this article as:
Thompson, T.J.U. & Inglis, J. Int J Legal Med (2009) 123: 129. doi:10.1007/s00414-008-0275-x


Although evidence of sharp-force trauma on the human body, particularly the skeleton, can be extremely useful in providing information regarding the manner and context of death, there is still a lack of necessary detail available to the investigator. Using ribs, radii, scapulae, vertebrae and carpal bones, this study demonstrated that distinctions could be made between the stab marks left by serrated blades and those of non-serrated blades. Low power and scanning electron microscopy were used to record distinctive ‘T’-shaped stab marks from non-serrated blades and ‘Y’-shaped stab marks from serrated blades. In addition, elemental evidence of the presence of the blade in the stab-mark kerf was recoverable even when no metal fragment was visible.


Forensic anthropologySharp force traumaStabbingCut markSEM

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Science & TechnologyUniversity of TeessideMiddlesbroughUK