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What Can a Skeleton Tell You –Aging –Sexing –Population Affinity –Diet –Pathology –Trauma.

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Presentation on theme: "What Can a Skeleton Tell You –Aging –Sexing –Population Affinity –Diet –Pathology –Trauma."— Presentation transcript:



3 What Can a Skeleton Tell You –Aging –Sexing –Population Affinity –Diet –Pathology –Trauma

4 Determining Age of Infant Prior to Birth Click HERE for the full size image Click HERE for the full size image Original image from Used with permission.

5 Try it Out Aged 31 weeks, 32 weeks, and 40 weeks (full term)

6 What about this one?

7 Bear Claw vs. Human Hand

8 Like Fingerprints… just can’t be seen until antemortem

9 When you don’t floss

10 Aging Peruvian Female, 100 BCE Original image from Used with permission

11 Arthritis Arthritic on the Left, and Normal on the Right Original image from Used with permission.

12 Arthritis Top Normal Bottom

13 Which One Has Arthritis

14 Osteoarthritis Top: a vertebra fused with the sacrum Bottom: the manubrium (top of the sternum) fused with the clavicle (shown cut here) Original image from Used with permission.

15 Vertebrate

16 Youth

17 Adult

18 Healing After Brain Surgery? Bolivian Female, Brain Surgery Survivor, 800 AD Peruvian Male, Bound Skull & Brain Surgery Survivor, 7000 BCE

19 Trephination Cont Inca skull after Trephination. The lack of bone growth after the surgery indicates that the treatment was likely worse than the disease View of wound in skull after trephination and removal of shattered bone, shown at bottom left. From Charles Bell, The Great Operations of Surgery, London, Etching by Thomas Landseer, after Bell.

20 Defects as Indicators Sternal Defect Scoliosis

21 Cradleboarding A prematurely fused sagittal suture, forcing the skull to elongate to allow for the expanding brain during growth

22 Surgical Techniques

23 Amputation

24 Perimortem Note the sharp edges of the cuts above.

25 Perimortem


27 Machete Wounds, African Male

28 Broad Axe Trauma, Male Spanish Conquistador, 1680 AD Original image from Used with permission.

29 Male Roman Gladiator, with Blunt Force Trauma NOTE: Above eyes and on either side of the nose. Original image from

30 Hammer Wounds

31 Shotgun pellets

32 .410 Caliber

33 Large Caliber GSW

34 Rib started to grow around the.22 caliber bullet. That's antemoretem

35 Racial Characteristics – Sex Set 1


37 Set 2


39 Set 3

40 4

41 5

42 6

43 7

44 QUESTIONS: 1. What are two ways, other than size, to determine whether a skeleton is from a teenager or an adult? 2. How can you tell whether an injury occurred perimortem (around the time of death) or antemortem (well before the time of death)? 3. What are 5 things that you can determine about an individual adult from that person's intact skull?

45 RACE The arch of the maxilla can be found in three basic shapes: hyperbolic, parabolic, and rounded. Each of the the following three races have their own shape: (1) African = hyperbolic, (2) European = parabolic, and (3) Asian = rounded.

46 -These two categories are: (1) shovel-shaped, and (2) spatulate, or spatula-shaped. -As there is more than one race with spatulate incisors, other indicators are necessary to positively identify race, although this single feature can be used to eliminate one of the possibilities. -Each of the the following three races have their own shape: (1)African = spatulate (2)European = spatulate (3)Asian = shovel-shaped.

47 Circle the Appropriate Answer Arch Shape Hyperbola, Parabola, or Rounded Incisor Spatulate or Shovel-shaped RACE African Asian Caucasian

48 African ancestry, the nasal opening is more flared. Another example is that of the zygomatic arch (or cheek bone), which is angled more forward in people of Asian ancestry, thus giving the person a slightly more flattened face..

49 Gender- Pelvis

50 Try it out Angle > 90 degrees or < 90 degrees Sacrum Forward or Backward Pelvic Outlet Small or Large Ilia Close or Spread Female or Male

51 Skull LandmarksFemaleMale ChinRoundedSquare Mastoid Process (Behind Ear) SmallLarge External Occipital Protuberance (Back of Skull) Small (Not Prominent) Large (Prominent) General AnatomyGracile (i.e., Graceful) Robust ForeheadVertical Receding (Careful with the comments...) Brow Ridges (Location of Eyebrows) Slightly DevelopedProminent Muscle LinesSlightly DevelopedProminent Orbital Margins (Edge of Eye Socket) SharpRounded Angle of Ascending Ramus (Back Corner of the Jaw) ObtuseClose to 90 degrees


53 Circle the Appropriate Answer Chin Rounded or Square Mastoid Process Small or Large Occipital Protuberance Small or Large General Anatomy Gracile or Robust Forehead Vertical or Receding Brow Ridges Slight or Prominent Muscle Lines Slight or Prominent Orbital Margins Sharp or Rounded Angle of Ramus 90 degrees or Obtuse Gender Female or MaleGender Female or Mal

54 Aging

55 Adult skull has no remaining suture (called the frontal suture) in the middle of the Frontal bone. Remember, also, that all the sutures ultimately become more filled-in ("closed") as we age. Circle the Appropriate Answer Frontal Suture Present or Absent Other Sutures "Open" or "Closed" Adolescent or Adult


57 An x-ray image (radiograph) of a child will reveal a dark area where the growth plates are still made of cartilage (more x-rays can pass through cartilage, which is less dense, thus making a dark area); these areas are the epiphyseal plates. An x-ray radiograph of an adult will reveal a white area where the growth plates have been turned into bone (fewer x-rays can pass through bone, which is more dense, thus making a white line); these areas are the epiphyseal lines.

58 Circle the Appropriate Answer Epiphyseal Plate or Line Adult or Child

59 QUESTIONS: What is the easiest way to determine the gender (using the skeleton) of an individual, and why? What is the easiest way to tell (using the skeleton) whether a teenager is lying about her/his age, and why? Why can determining gender from a skull be difficult? Why should a forensic anthropologist use more than one bone (if possible) to determine the height of an individual? What other issue is important to question four, especially if there is only one bone from which to work?

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