I was curious about what triggered the autopsy process so I asked about it.
This is the photo Smithjeb sent them, according to him the saddle is still mounted on his bike:
Meld has seen pothole/crash impact damage before, so the abnormalies pointed to by the red arrows look familiar. What isn't familiar is the scuffing pointed to by the green arrow. That triggered the request for the return shipment.
They showed this photo with a close up of the scuff. It goes through the leather, and hits the carbon underneath. It looks like it is at least a sideways, and probably an upward force.
Next they stared at the graphics a bit. Notice the jagged black line running through the white background? They've never seen this before.
Then they look at the impact damage places themselves, pointed to by the red arrows in the first picture. Apparently for previous cases, carbon on both sides are roughly equally delaminated. But in this case, the delamination on the left side, or the side with the scuff and the jagged black line in the graphics, is significantly longer than the right. They think something else happened.
They emulated an upward force applied at the scuffed part (around the index finger below),
and discovered that the part of the saddle highlighted below is cracked below the surface. On the other side of the highlighted crack is the jagged line.
So the analysis is that an upward impact at the scuffed area of the saddle initiated shell failure, which is exerbated by continued riding. They don't think the upward impact force causing the scuffing is normally encountered during rides.
There is one other observation they made: The funny thing about the saddle cover is that it reflects contact with the body. Over time, the place(s) where we sit will turn shiny due to wear and sweat (I went and looked at my saddle for a bit). They used this property to prove to someone he's been sitting on his perineum for the past few months. They show the photo below comparing Smithjeb's saddle with a brand new saddle, and say that Smithjeb's saddle's cover shows at least medium if not quite a bit of usage (thousands of miles):