Forensic anthropology
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FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY. “The pathologist’s domain is that of dead bodies; the forensic anthropologist applies his expertise to skeletal remains.”. I – Recovery of Remains II – Skeletal examination III – Forensic identification IV – Reconstructing identity. Legal aspects

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FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY

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FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY


  • “The pathologist’s domain is that of dead bodies; the forensic anthropologist applies his expertise to skeletal remains.”


  • I – Recovery of Remains

  • II – Skeletal examination

  • III – Forensic identification

  • IV – Reconstructing identity


Legal aspects

Court order for exhumation

Exact location of burial

Date and time of exhumation

Complete list of persons attending

Scaled sketches of gravesite

Photographs

Burial site

Coffin in situ

Coffin above ground

Recovery of Remains


Helicopters

Disturbances of soil or vegetation

Aerial photography with infrared film

Ground search

Sunken area

Damage to vegetation

Steel rod probe

Methane gas detector

Grid pattern

Remove only a few inches of soil at a time

Clandestinely buried bodies


After remains are recovered

  • Coffin or remains transported to morgue or other facility

  • Careful opening – protect evidence for court


Decay rate facility

Mummification – desiccation

Adipocere – “grave wax”

Freezing

Moisture

Even is not in any type of container, bodies will last longer underground

Rule of Thumb for rate of decomp –

One week open air = two weeks in water = eight weeks underground

Anthropology Research Facility


“The Body Farm”


“A person’s job, diet, illness, chronic disease and/or trauma leave their mark on a person’s skeletal remains.”

Skeletal examination


Morphological analysis

Features

Marked by size and shape

Metric analysis

Hamann-Todd/ Cleveland (3,100)

Terry/Smithsonian (1,600)

Cobb/ Howard University (600)

Identification techniques


Formulas from Metric Analysis

  • From collections

  • Forensic Data Bank (FDB) – UT Knoxville in 1980s

  • FORDISC – UT in 1993 and updated periodically – computer program


Excavated remains cleaned in forensic lab

Arranged in correct anatomical order

Anthropological Examination


  • Depending upon bones present, forensic anthropologist may be able to determine

    • Sex

    • Race

    • Age

    • Stature


Immature vs Mature Skeleton

  • Before puberty biological identification of remains can be difficult

    • Bones are mostly cartilage

    • Growth plates not fused

    • Sexual differences not as pronounced

    • Best determinant – skull with dentition


Sex determination - Pelvis


Sex determination – Long Bones


Humerus, Radius, Femur


Sex determination - Skull


Race determination - Skull

  • Race determinations

    • Mongoloid

      • Asian

      • Native American Indian

    • Caucasoid

      • White

      • Hispanic

    • Negroid

      • African American


Mongoloid


Caucasoid


Negroid


Characteristics of Dentition

Less affected by environmental factors

Hardest structure in human body

Tooth buds developing 2nd month after conception

Eruption follows pattern

In Adult skeleton

Resorption of bone

Attrition

Root resorption

Cementum annulation – counting tree trunk rings

Age determination - Dentition


Deciduous eruption


Permanent eruption


Age – Long bone development


Age – Skull development

  • 29 bones in the skull

  • Initial fusion few weeks postnatal

  • Continues through age 21 – 35 yrs

  • Mathematical formulas for using sutures to determine age


Height determination – Long bones

  • Rule of thumb – “Height roughly equals 5 times the length of the humerus.”

  • Since it is only an estimate, always have height be a range

  • Formulas

    2.38 (femur length cm)+61.41 = Stature +/- 3.27


Manner of death

Accident

Suicide

Homicide

Natural causes

Undetermined causes

Cause of death – medical reason for death

Asphyxia

Drowning

Stabbing

Gun shot wound

Etc

Evidence of Trauma


Determine when Trauma took place

  • Antemortem – before death

  • Perimortem – around the time of death

  • Postmortem – after death occurred


Antemortem trauma

  • Bone healing or bone remodeling – depends upon

    • Age/health of individual

    • Nature/extent of injury

    • Location of injury

  • Bone healing has a distinctive look

    • Bony callus

    • Smooth edges

  • Usually no clues as to death


Lesions have no sign of healing

Perimortem trauma


Intentional dismemberment

Tool marks left on bone

Unintentional dismemberment

Animal tooth marks left on bone

Postmortem trauma


Short duration fires

Skeleton usually survives

Cremation

Very small fragments and ash

Differences in prolonged fires with green bones and dry bones

Burned bone


Green bone – fleshed bones

Deep transverse fracture lines

Warping

Blackened tissue

Dry bone

Longitudinal fracture line

Superficial cracking

Little warping

Differences


Reconstructing Identity

  • Forensic Odontology

  • Facial Reconstruction

  • Nuclear or Genomic DNA

  • Mitochondrial DNA


Forensic Odontology

  • Antemortem and Postmortem dental charting and radiographs

    • Missing,unerupted, or extracted teeth; supernumerary teeth

    • Restorations and prostheses

    • Decay


Plastic 3 D reconstruction

2 dimensional reconstruction

Facial Reconstruction


  • Computerized programs for Facial Reconstruction


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