Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Forensic Anthropology Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Meradeth Snow

Commitee Members

Bill Holben, Randall Skelton


pig, DNA, burial soil, Sus scrofa, Montana


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Biological and Physical Anthropology


DNA is a valuable resource as a unique identifier of physical characteristics at both the population and individual levels. Due to a variety of factors that contribute to genetic decay, forensic and bioarchaeological investigators have limited outlets in which to extract viable DNA after most of a body’s organic materials have fully decomposed. This preliminary research focused on extracting DNA from the soil surrounding buried Sus scrofa domesticus cadavers to confirm the presence of viable and analyzable DNA. After a decomposition period of five months in Montana, soils were collected at incremental distances above the remains and sequenced to identify endogenous DNA. The primers targeted a genetic template specific to Sus scrofa, and sequence fragments were confirmed by sequence submission to BLAST. The results of this study indicate basic temporal characteristics and leaching attributes of DNA preservation in soils surrounding burial sites with an interred cadaver. The conclusions of this study promote the collection of soil in crime scene investigation procedures, and catalyze research opportunities across biological and archaeological disciplines.



© Copyright 2016 Ariane Thomas