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PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY
FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY
The Study of Human Remains
FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY IS THE
STUDY OF HUMAN REMAINS.
• The primary goal of a forensic anthropologist is to determine the
biological identity of an individual (i.e. sex, age-at-death, stature,
and population affiliation).
• A forensic anthropologist may also be called upon to try and figure
out what happened to an individual by examining his or her bones
for evidence of trauma.
• They may also assist investigators in making a positive
identification of an individual from his or her skeletal remains.
TANYA PECKMAN - FORENSIC
ANTHROPOLOGIST
•
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8gjby0T5x0
•
This is a short piece about Tanya Peckman a professional Forensic
Anthropologist
SEX DETERMINATION:
•
In general, males have bigger bones and larger areas of muscle attachment
than females
•
The pelvic bones are the best indicators of sex
•
The skull, or cranium, is the second best indicator of sex
•
Long bones may also be used for sex determination, although they are less
accurate than the skull or pelvic bones
•
As significant skeletal indicators of sex do not develop until puberty, it is very
difficult to accurately determine the sex of children and young adolescents
AGE ESTIMATION:
•
A number of methods are used to estimate the age-at-death of an individual
from his or her skeletal remains
•
The most common methods used to estimate the age of sub-adults
(individuals under the age of 18) are bone formation and growth and dental
formation and eruption
•
Among the most common methods used to estimate the age of adults are
cranial stature closure, changes to pelvic bones, and tooth wear
•
It is easier to estimate the age-at-death of sub-adults because growth occurs
in a known pattern
•
Age estimation is not an exact science – age estimates are usually expressed
in a range of years
• eg. this individual was 40-50 years of age at the time of his death
STATURE ESTIMATION:
•
Stature or height is estimated by measuring the maximum length, in
centimeters, of one or more of the six major long bones and plugging the
number into a formula
•
Separate formulae have been developed for different populations so it is
important to know the population affiliation of the individual before doing
the calculation
POPULATION AFFILIATION:
•
Physical anthropologists generally agree that there is no such thing as race
(i.e. it has no biological basis); however forensic anthropologists are often
called upon to determine the racial or population affiliation (also referred to
as “ancestry”) of an individual from his or her skeletal remains
•
This can be very difficult to do
•
Determination of population affiliation from skeletal remains is usually done
using the skull, and is based on the fact that different populations have
different facial features
POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION:
•
A number of different methods are used to make a positive identification
from skeletal remains
•
The most common method is dental records
•
Other methods include medical records, DNA, frontal sinus patterns, and
photographic superimposition
•
Facial reconstruction may be used to gather further clues in a case, but it
is not used to make a positive identification
ARTICLES GIVING MORE INFORMATION
ABOUT FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY AND ITS
METHODS:
•
http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/technique/forensicanthropology/
LEARNING FROM SKELETONS
•
Label the diagram of the
skeleton from the following
information
•
You must summarize the content
Skull
•
Look for the sagittal suture – the
squiggly line that runs the length of
the skull – and note whether is it's
completely fused. If it is, the
remains are likely to be of
someone older than 35. Look for
a second line at the front of the
skull -- the coronal suture –
which fully fuses by age 40.
Teeth
•
•
Study the teeth. If they're worn
down it could be a sign of a
poor diet. If they're wellmaintained and/or have
good dental work such as
fillings, they were able to
afford proper dental care—
another clue as to the identity of
your skeleton.
Consult a scientist who specializes
in teeth, known as an
odontologist. They can determine
how old a person was at death,
what kind of health they were in
and what kind of diet they had
DNA
•
DNA samples may be taken from
any existing hair tissue. As well as
positively identifying someone, it
may be useful in identifying a
person's ethnicity or tribal origins
Sternum
•
Examine where the ribs join
the sternum. This is also a good
indicator of age. A forensic
anthropologist will compare it
against a database of standard
markers and it is often more
accurate as it is not a weightbearing bone and remains
unaffected by childbirth.
Pelvis
•
The older the person at death, the more rough and uneven these
bones will be. Forensic anthropologists will compare this against a
database of standard markers to learn the age of the skeleton. Check if
there are any soft marks on the cartilage which are left by
childbirth as the bones soften to allow easier birth.
•
To identify gender, assess the pelvis shape; men have a narrow,
deep pelvis and women a wider, shallower pelvis, better-suited to
carrying a baby. For a quick identification in the field, a forensic
anthropologist will find the notch in the fan-shaped bone of the pelvis and
stick their thumb into it. If there's room to wiggle the thumb, then it's a
female; if it's a tight fit, it's the skeleton of a man
Wrist
•
Examine the wrists, as bones often
hold clues to the primary
work of the decedent. Bony ridges
form where the muscles were
attached and pulled over the years.
A forensic anthropologist might
find a bony ridge on the wrist and
decide the dead person may have
been someone who used their
hands for a living, such as a chef or
seamstress
Bugs
•
When the skeleton is first
discovered, take samples from
around the remains including any
bugs you come across. Insects such
as blowflies have a very distinct
lifecycle and often plant their eggs
on newly deceased bodies. By
identifying the stage of the
lifecycle of bugs, a near-exact
time of death can be
established. This science is
known as forensic entomology
INTERVIEW WITH A FORENSIC
ANTHROPOLOGIST ARTICLE
•
Forensic anthropologist and Smithsonian scientist Doug Owsley has been
involved in cases ranging from Waco, Texas to Croatia. Recently, Owsley
spoke with FRONTIERS about his work, his curiosity, and his love of
learning.
•
http://www.pbs.org/saf/1203/features/owsley.htm
PALEOARTIST – VIKTOR DEAK
SKULL RECONSTRUCTION
•
(click launch interactive)
•
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/building-fossils-faces.html
READ THE ARTICLE REAL FACE OF
JESUS
•
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/forensics/1282186
REAL FACE OF JESUS
•
History Channel Documentary - The Real Face of Jesus from the
Turin Shroud
•
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/face-jesus-revealed-10248139
•
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqBQSFPW9zo
“THE REAL FACE OF JESUS” QUESTIONS
•
Describe the traditional image of Jesus as written in this article.
•
Provide three reason to explain why this image is flawed.
•
How has culture influenced the image of Jesus?
•
What is forensic anthropology?
•
Based on the evidence, describe Neave’s vision of Jesus?