Two small linear marks on a mandible: Collaborative networking between forensic experts

Jun Kanetake, Kazuhiro Sakaue, Jun Sakai, Shirushi Takahashi, Yoshimasa Kanawaku, Masaki Hashiyada, Masato Funayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


A human male mandible was found under the eaves of a house. There were no associated items that allowed for personal identification. An anthropologist, who voluntarily joined our forensics team to give an expert opinion, found two small linear marks of 0.6 cm on the surface of the right condylar process. He thought these marks had been produced by a sharp object, and at the very least were not the result of bite marks by rodents or other animals. At first, the police did not appreciate the significance of the marks. One month later, however, other remains with similar marks were found near the scene, strongly suggesting that the case was a mutilation murder with a sharp weapon. After a vigorous search, the police obtained information that a young man in his twenties had gone missing in the area one year previously. After checking up on his relationships, a suspect was identified and arrested. The suspect subsequently confessed and was convicted as guilty of the crime. There are only a few forensic anthropologists in Japan. Consequently, almost all cases requiring bone examination have been handled by forensic pathologists, but it is hard for forensic pathologists to cover all fields comprehensively. The present case might have been solved without help from the anthropologist. However, we believe that forensic pathologists, especially less experienced ones, should seek advice from an expert in the field of forensic anthropology in order to carry a multidisciplinary forensic investigation. Given the current situation in, it is difficult in many institutes of forensics to obtain direct help from forensic anthropologists. The authors believe that collaborative networking via the Internet between forensic experts in each field cannot only obtain further information on complicated cases, but would also be helpful in training young forensic pathologists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-49
Number of pages4
JournalLegal Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan 1


  • Bone examination
  • Collaborative network
  • Forensic anthropologist
  • Mutilation murder
  • Skeletal remains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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