What is Forensic Science? • Application of science to criminal investigation. • Forensic science has an ancient history First recorded application of medical knowledge to the solution of a crime (forensic medicine): 1248 CE, Chinese book HsiDuanYu (The Washing Away of Wrongs) • Primer on the investigation of suspicious deaths • Discussed how to tell if a strangulation was masked as a suicide by hanging in a corpse • Still in practice today.
The Medical Forensic Team CORONER (legal authority to investigate deaths; may not have an MD) MEDICAL EXAMINER (ME) usually a Forensic Pathologist (MD) OTHERS: Forensic Odontologist, Forensic Botanist, Forensic Entomologist, Forensic Anthropologist, Forensic Archaeologist, Forensic Palynologist etc.
What is Forensic Anthropology? • Anthropology has 4 subdisciplines: • PHYSICAL(or BIOLOGICAL) Anthropology, • Archaeology, • Cultural Anthropology, • Linguistics • FA: a subfield of Physical Anthropology only • in last 35 yrs (FArch only within the last decade!) • FA: use of techniques from physical anthropology in medicolegal death investigation (i.e., deaths within the last 50 years) WHY? • BECAUSE it would be difficult to prosecute otherwise (murderer , family of victim, witnesses would likely be deceased)
History of Forensic Anthropology • Began in the US with the murder of Dr. George Parkman at Harvard Medical School in 1849. Solved by 2 Harvard anatomists using skeletal evidence to identify the victim. • Thomas Dwight, 1883 Harvard anatomist: Founder of Forensic Anthropology- established an osteology section in anatomy dept
10 Question ProtocolDEVELOPED BY EMINENT FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST Dr. Clyde Snow 1982 • Are the bones human? • How many individuals are represented? • How long ago did death occur? • What was the person’s age at death? • What was the person’s sex? • What was the person’s race? • What was the person’s height? • Are there any identifying characteristics, such as old injuries, disease or unusual features? • What was cause of death? • What was the manner of death? • Homicide • Suicide • Accidental • Natural • Unknown
First question of the Ten Question Protocol: Q1:Are the bones human?
Q3: How long ago did death occur? Remember, medicolegal interest is within the last 50 years! Teeth from prehistoric burial site
DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE: Q4: What was the person’s age at death? Q5: What was the person’s sex? Q6: What was the person’s race(ancestry)? Q7: What was the person’s height?
IDENTIFICATION AND CAUSE OF DEATH: • Q8: Are there any identifying characteristics, such as old injuries, disease or unusual features? ANTEMORTEM, PERIMORTEM; POSTMORTEM CHANGES TO BONE
IDENTIFICATION AND CAUSE OF DEATH (continued): • Q9. What was cause of death? PERIMORTEMvsPOSTMORTEMTRAUMA TO BONE
IDENTIFICATION AND CAUSE OF DEATH (cont.): • Q10:What was the manner of death? HOMICIDE? SUICIDE?
THE CASE OF THE MISSING BARBIE: A classroom exercise in Forensic Archaeology