Picosecond time-resolved Raman spectroscopy in equine cortical bone tissue is demonstrated. Using 400-nm pulsed laser excitation (1 ps at 1 kHz) it is shown that Kerr cell gating with a 4-ps window provides simultaneously time-resolved rejection of fluorescence and time-resolved Raman scatter enabling depth profiling through tissue. The Raman shifts are the same as those observed by conventional cw Raman spectroscopy using deep-red or near-infrared lasers. The time decay of Raman photons is shown to fit an inverse square root of time function, suggesting propagation by a diffusive mechanism. Using polystyrene behind a bone specimen, it is shown that the 400-nm laser light penetrates at least 0.31 mm below the surface of a fully mineralized bone tissue specimen and generates observable bone Raman scatter (approximately 415 to 430 nm) through most of this depth. These novel results demonstrate great promise for in vivo applications for studying diseased bone tissue, and ways to optimize the setup are discussed. © 2005 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.