Despite the wide usage of animals as models in forensic studies, the investigations of fundamental legal questions involving domesticated and nondomesticated animals were always given marginal attention compared to “human forensic,” and only recently the interest in the discipline is increasing. Our research focuses on the effect of the fur coat on the activity and development of microbial decomposers. In order to test this variable never assessed before, rabbit carcasses were used and results show that: (i) distinct and significant temporal changes in terms of metabolic activity and taxa distribution can be tracked over the decomposition process; (ii) the richness and the diversity of the bacterial communities does not significantly vary over time, but it does not mean that the species Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) do not change; (iii) the presence/absence of the fur on the carcasses does not significantly affect either the bacterial communities’ functional activity or the diversity intra‐ and intercommunity, neither at phylum nor at family resolution; (iv) the functional activity and the ecological diversity of the bacterial communities are significantly affected by the body region, while the relative abundance is not. Obtained data confirm previous observations and provide new insight in the Forensic Veterinary field in terms of equally using them in order to derive a statistical model for the PMI estimation. As a future perspective, a contribution to the Forensic Entomology approach will be given in legal investigations when domestic or wild animals are involved, regardless of the presence of a hair layer.
|Number of pages||16|
|Early online date||12 Mar 2019|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sep 2019|