A Comparison of Two Gelatin Consolidants for the Preservation of Thermally Altered Skeletal Remains

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Natalie Bishop
Angi M. Christensen


A recent study (Topoleski & Christensen 2019) found that applying a food-grade gelatin solution to thermally altered skeletal remains resulted in significantly better structural preservation (reduced fragmentation) during recovery and transport compared to untreated controls. Here we expand upon this research and test whether a technical-grade gelatin would result in even better skeletal evidence preservation. Results show that bones treated with both the food-grade and technical-grade gelatins were better preserved (i.e., had less fragmentation) than untreated controls. Application of the technical-grade gelatin, however, did not result in significantly better preservation than the food-grade gelatin, and is less accessible, more expensive, and more difficult to prepare. Food-grade gelatin is therefore recommended, but other types of gelatins can be equally effective.

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