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Proximal End Root Morphology Characteristics in Antemortem Anagen Head Hairs

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The proximal end morphology of antemortem anagen head hair was compared with the characteristics documented to occur in postmortem hairs. Antemortem anagen and telogen head hairs (N = 967) were recovered following exposure to seven environments. Root morphology characteristics consistent with those reported in postmortem hairs were observed in 66 (14%) hairs exposed to a water, normal saline, outdoor soil, or indoor shower environment. Thirty‐three anagen hairs (7%) exhibited a root band at the proximal end. The mean distance from the root tip to the onset of the root band ranged from 0.23 to 0.7 mm, depending on the environment. The mean distance from the root tip to the onset of the root band was 0.46 mm, with a mean band length of 0.44 mm. The results illustrate the need to better characterize postmortem banding through quantitative measurements, including the range for root tip to band distance and the overall band length.
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Keywords: anagen hairs; antemortem root banding; decomposition; environmental exposure; forensic science; root morphology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

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