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Forensic Anthropology

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Presentation on theme: "Forensic Anthropology"— Presentation transcript:

1 Forensic Anthropology

2 What is Anthropology and Forensic Anthropology?
Anthropology: The cultural and physical study of humans across all geographical areas over time

3 Forensic Anthropology
Forensic Anthropology: the application of anthropology to legal matters

4 What Does a Forensic Anthropologist Do?
Forensic anthropologists research and apply techniques to determine the age at death, gender, race, stature, abnormalities and “quirks” of skeletal remains

5 The Process Forensic Anthropologists take an “inventory” of all bones present When inventory is taken, specific bone names are used. For Ex.: NOT cranium ; left parietal


7 3. After inventory is complete, conclusions are made in regards to age, gender, size/stature, time of death, and method of death

8 What Differences Do Forensic Anthropologists Look For to Identify Gender?
Size and shape of bone structures are used in determining the gender and sometimes race of the skeleton


10 Male Female General size Large Small Architecture Rugged Smooth Supraorbital margin Rounded Sharp Mastoid process Occipital bone Muscle lines and protuberance marked Muscle lines not marked Glabella Bony Flat Gonial Angle Squared Wide angle Palate Larger, broader, tends to be U-shaped Small, tends to be a parabola Occipital condyles

11 What Differences Do Forensic Anthropologists Look For to Identify Age?
The best tool for identifying the age of a younger person is looking at the teeth and the jaw (when possible) Looking at sutures are also helpful Sutures: zigzag seams where the bones of the skull meet


13 What Differences Do Forensic Anthropologists Look For to Identify Stature?
Stature or build is determined by using an equation involving the measurements of “long bones” Long bones include: humeri, ulnae, tibias and fibulae, and femurs

14 An osteometric board is used to determine weight
This can also be used in race determination

15 Weight: Lighter people typically have narrower bones
Race: People of African descent have more dense bones than those of European descent

16 Estimating Time of Death
Many factors come into play when determining TOD as well as the condition of the bones including rate of decay, weather, animal scattering, and if the body is buried or not

17 Types of fabrics may also help in determining TOD
Material Length of Time in Good Condition (in months) Rayon 1-2 if buried 5 on surface Paper 1 in alk or fresh water 5 on surface/in acid* Cotton/Wool 6 in alk or fresh water 10 to 15 on surface/in acid Human Hair 10 to 15 if buried wind blows it away on surface Cotton/Poly 15 on surface 25 to 35 if buried Other Plastics/Leather 15 to 35 on surface >48 if buried

18 If buried: body will be completely skeletalized in 1-2 years (may become mummified in dry regions)
If on the surface: Completely skeletalized within 8 months

19 TOD estimates based on environmental factors are from research in Tennessee as follows: 3 weeks -- articulated bones 5 weeks -- some scatter, some articulated 4 months -- disarticulated, within 10' circle 7 to 8 months -- most bones w/in 10' circle and all w/in 20' 1 year -- small bones missing, complete disarticulation 2 to 4 years -- some bones broken, scattered 40', some large bones missing 12+ years -- bone rot; partial burial* 15 to 20 years -- no surface evidence * partial burial from leaves, storms, erosion from shallow burial

20 Determining Manner of Death
5 Possible Manners of Death: Homicide, suicide, accidental, natural and unknown Use of x-rays help to determine if an injury was old and healed or if it lead to/was a part of death Old injuries will show signs of healing Metal objects, such as lead from bullets, will show up as bright white on x-rays

21 Other Characteristics
Righty or Lefty/Hand dominance Runner or other kind of athlete Bone diseases And many more!

22 Videos Dr. Tanya Peckmann: Forensic Anthropologist – YouTube
Power of the Bones - YouTube


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