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CHE 113. FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY A Very Brief Overview. Thanks to help from Prof. Ann Bunch, SUNY Oswego. Forensic Anthropology Brief Overview. Defined as “the field of study that deals with the analysis of human skeletal remains resulting from unexplained deaths.”

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FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY A Very Brief Overview

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CHE 113

FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGYA Very Brief Overview

Thanks to help from

Prof. Ann Bunch, SUNY Oswego


Forensic AnthropologyBrief Overview

  • Defined as “the field of study that deals with the analysis of human skeletal remains resulting from unexplained deaths.”

  • Often done in a legal context

  • An applied science

  • Five subdisciplines:

    • 1. Biological, or physical anthropology

    • 2. Archaeology

    • 3. Cultural anthropology

    • 4. Linguistics

    • 5. Applied anthropology


Forensic Anthropology

Goal: Biological Profile

Includes:

1. General Description

2. Sex of decedent

3. Age of decedent

4. Ancestry of decedent

5. Stature of decedent

6. Assessment of trauma

(ante-, peri-, post mortem)

7. Pathologies noted


Osteology: study of skeletal remains

Each bone studied INDIVIDUALLY

206 Skeletal Bones (total)


Osteology: study of skeletal remains

Each bone studied INDIVIDUALLY


Osteology

Human bone –vs- Animal bone

Macroscopic differences

Radiology

Observation

Measurement

Microscopic differences


Osteology


Osteology


Macroscopic differences

Baboon femur

Human femur


Microscopic differences

human

Spongy bone

mouse


Osteology

Radiographs


Information from skeletal remains Sex of decedent

Skull

Hip boneFemur


Information from skeletal remains Sex of decedent

http://medlib.med.utah.edu/kw/osteo/forensics/sasta.html


Information from skeletal remainsSex of decedent

MALE OR FEMALE SKELETON?

(a) IS FEMALE and (b) IS MALE

Handout


Information from skeletal remainsSex of decedent

Male

MALE OR FEMALE SKELETON?

(a) IS FEMALE and (b) IS MALE

Female


Information from skeletal remains Sex of decedent

http://medlib.med.utah.edu/kw/osteo/forensics/sasta.html


What can we learn from skeletons? Age at Death

Hip bone most useful for adults

Estimate given as a range

(30 – 35 yrs old)

Teeth: Erupted or Not?

Epiphyses: fused or unfused?

Auricular surface

Pubic symphysis


Age at DeathLong Bone Development


Age at Death

http://medlib.med.utah.edu/kw/osteo/forensics/sasta.html


Age at Death

http://medlib.med.utah.edu/kw/osteo/forensics/sasta.html


Osteology

Teeth also studied

Deciduous –vs- Permanent


Age at Death

http://medlib.med.utah.edu/kw/osteo/forensics/sasta.html


Epiphyses - A part of bone separated from the main body of the bone by a layer of cartilage and subsequently uniting with the bone through further ossification

Unfused = juvenile

Fused = adult


Spine


More info from skeletal remains

ANCESTRY of decedent

Difficult determination to make

Facial bones most important

Nasal aperture

Teeth

Interorbital space

Mandible


Stature estimate

Measure long bone(s) available

Plug in value to formula

Range established for stature of decedent

5’ 2” – 5’ 5”


Other information TRAUMA and PATHOLOGIES

Ante- mortem

Post-mortem

Peri-mortem

Gunshot


Trauma


Individual Identification

Person identified when it was found that the amalgam used in her dental restorations was of a type found only in specific areas on the Eastern Coast of the United States.

Habitual activity can wear away the protective, cartilagenous lining which reduces friction in joints. The humerus in this photograph were in contact for many years prior to this individual's death. The surfaces are smooth and shiny, indicating that the joint capsule and cartilage had worn away, allowing bone on bone contact in the cavity.

http://medlib.med.utah.edu/kw/osteo/forensics/sasta.html


Individual Identification

Dental implants, braces, and other types of dental work are often recovered with a body and are extremely useful in identification because they are so unique to the individual and are well detailed in antemortem radiographs and medical records.

Healed fracture on the sternal end of a midthoracic rib. The area within the red brackets is the site of injury. Note the more porous appearance of the bone in this area - this is woven bone.

http://medlib.med.utah.edu/kw/osteo/forensics/sasta.html


Case Study

From Prof. Ann Bunch

SUNY Oswego

September 1999 Tourist Aircraft Crash on the Big Island of Hawaii


Big Island Aircraft Crash

Piper Aircraft with 9 passengers, 1 pilot


Big Island Aircraft Crash

Aircraft’s path prior to crash & location of crash


Big Island Aircraft Crash

NTSB determination of cause = pilot error


Big Island Aircraft Crash


Big Island Aircraft Crash


Big Island Aircraft Crash

Document remains

present


Big Island Aircraft Crash

X-ray all remains/

Possible remains


Big Island Aircraft Crash


Big Island Aircraft Crash

Personal effects and

identification


Big Island Aircraft Crash

Identification “by

exclusion”

Osteoarthritis


Big Island Aircraft Crash


Big Island Aircraft Crash

Sorting out commingling


Other Types of Evidence

Wreckage fragments

Wreckage in situ


Federal Government Cases

From Prof. Ann Bunch

SUNY Oswego

Ha Tay Province, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

1995-1996 Recovery Mission


1972 B-52 Crash Site

Christmas Bombing of Hanoi, Operation “Rolling Thunder”


Witness interviews


1972 B-52 Crash Site

Pond after draining


B-52 Crash Site

Surrounding terrain


The “Bottomless Pit”


Wet-screening stations


Wet-screening stations in operation


Progress after one field activity

Test Pit

Test Pit


6 weeks’ progress


6 weeks’ progress


Recovery continues


Focal point of recovery


Evidence


Final View of Excavation


More Evidence


More evidence


Case Status

  • Remains of tail gunner identified with mtDNA

  • Captain’s rank insignia recovered from site = presence of second MIA?

  • Family of tail gunner not willing to accept ID until more solid evidence of other MIA is found/presented

  • Prof. Ann Bunch, SUNY Oswego


Harper Bone/Kennedy

Found the day after the assassination 25 ft. from the car path in the Plaza.

Believed to be a parietal bone

mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ harper.htm


Harper Bone/Kennedy

Believed to be a parietal bone

mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ harper.htm


Harper Bone- Kennedy


Forensic Anthropology

  • http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/forensics/anthropology/1.html

  • http://www.forensicanthro.com/

  • http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/biology/forensics/index.shtml


Forensic Anthropology Conclusions and Summary

1. General Description

2. Sex of decedent

3. Age of decedent

4. Ancestry of decedent

5. Stature of decedent

6. Assessment of trauma

(ante-, peri-, post mortem)

7. Pathologies noted

Exclusionary and identification evidence

Class and individual evidence


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