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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?