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FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY. WHAT IS IT?. WHAT DOES A FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST DO?. HOW DOES ONE BECOME A FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST?. Forensic Anthropology. 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
FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY

WHAT IS IT?

WHAT DOES A FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST DO?

HOW DOES ONE BECOME A FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST?

forensic anthropology1
Forensic Anthropology

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

anthropology
ANTHROPOLOGY

Study of humans – holistic view

5 subdisciplines:

1. Biological, or physical anthropology

2. Archaeology

3. Cultural anthropology

4. Linguistics

5. Applied anthropology

what do forensic anthropologists do
What do forensic anthropologists do?

CONSULTING: PART-TIME

MEDICAL EXAMINER’S OFFICE: FULL-TIME

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

consulting cases
Consulting Cases

Goal: Biological Profile

Includes:

1. General Description

2. Sex of decedent

3. Age of decedent

4. Ancestry of decedent

5. Stature of decedent

(ante-, peri-, post mortem)

6. Assessment of trauma

7. Pathologies noted

osteology study of skeletal remains
Osteology: study of skeletal remains

Each bone studied INDIVIDUALLY

Frontal

Maxilla

Parietal

osteology
Osteology

Human bone –vs- Animal bone

Macroscopic differences

Microscopic differences

macroscopic differences
Macroscopic differences

Greater Trocanter

Head

Lesser Trocanter

Medail and Lateral epicondyles (patellar side)

Baboon femur

Human femur

microscopic differences
Microscopic differences

This is a microphoto is human bone use to id human remains from other mammals.  The round features are secondary osteons photographed using polarizing light.

microscopic differences1
Microscopic differences

Human bone thin section

Dinosaur bone thin section

osteology1
Osteology

Parts of bone important to know

Ridges

Projections

Grooves

Openings (foramina)

osteology2
Osteology

Teeth also studied

Deciduous –vs- Permanent

osteology3
Osteology

Radiographs

information derived from skeletal remains
Information derived from skeletal remains

SEX of decedent

Hip bone

Skull

Pubic face

Sciatic notch

pelvic girdle male vs female
Pelvic Girdle – Male vs. Female

Female

(Fibrocartilage)

Male

teeth
Teeth

Have deciduous teeth fallen out?

Have wisdom teeth erupted?

epiphyses
Epiphyses

An epiphysis is a region of bone growth found at the ends of bone shafts.

These regions are not fused to the rest of the bone shaft during the ages of grwoth.

Once growth has ceased, they fuse with the shaft. Usually after the age of 17.

Fused = adult

fused epiphysis
Fused Epiphysis

Even Older

Older

more info from skeletal remains
More info from skeletal remains

ANCESTRY of decedent

Difficult determination to make

Facial bones most important

Nasal aperture

Teeth

Interorbital space

Mandible

slide26

Negroid/African Skull

Mongoloid/Asian Skull

Caucasian/European Skull

Aboriginal/Australian Skull

stature estimate
Stature estimate

Measure long bone(s) available

Plug in value to a formula

Range established for stature of decedent

5’ 2” – 5’ 5”

other info
Other info…

TRAUMA and PATHOLOGIES

Antemortem – before death

Postmortem – after death

Perimortem – at death or around time of death

perimortem injuries
Perimortem Injuries

Iron age period male with perimortem sword wound to the skull. 

Injury occurred at or around the time of death and may have even caused the death

antemortem injuries
Antemortem Injuries

Injuries that occurred during the decedent's lifetime – they appear healed.

the inca battlefield mystery
The Inca Battlefield Mystery
  • www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/inca/grav-nf.html
rediscovering pompeiani
Rediscovering Pompeiani
  • Giuseppe Fiorelli took charge of the excavations in 1860. During early excavations of the site, occasional voids in the ash layer had been found that contained human remains.
  • It was Fiorelli who realized these were spaces left by the decomposed bodies and so devised the technique of injecting plaster into them to perfectly recreate the forms of Vesuvius's victims.
  • What resulted were highly accurate and eerie forms of the doomed Pompeiani who failed to escape, in their last moment of life, with the expression of terror often quite clearly visible.
  • This technique is still in use today, with resin now used instead of plaster because it is more durable.