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This paper concerns the ultrasonic characterization of human cancellous bone samples by solving the inverse problem using experimentally measured signals. The inverse problem is solved numerically by the least squares method. Five parameters are inverted: porosity, tortuosity, viscous characteristic length, Young modulus, and Poisson ratio of the skeletal frame. The minimization of the discrepancy between experiment and theory is made in the time domain. The ultrasonic propagation in cancellous bone is modelled using the Biot theory modified by the Johnson-Koplik-Dashen model for viscous exchange between fluid and structure. The sensitivity of the Young modulus and the Poisson ratio of the skeletal frame is studied showing their effect on the fast and slow waveforms. The inverse problem is shown to be well posed, and its solution to be unique. Experimental results for slow and fast waves transmitted through human cancellous bone samples are given and compared with theoretical predictions.