Forensic Anthropology - River Dell Regional School District

J. Pawlowski, Adjunct
Forensic anthropologists study and
examine human skeletal remains.
 For historical significance
 To identify an individual
or groups of individuals
New technologies
 Ground Penetrating Radar GPR
 Show patterns of density
 Scientific knowledge to
 Keep bones intact as found
 No disruption of how bones are
lain in ground
 NOT good for urban environments
Proton Magnetometer
 Shows variations in bone emissions of
electromagnetic energy
 Technical knowledge of energies needed;
very specific
 Must know differences in soil to begin
 Articulation of bones may indicate decomposition
 IN fires, bones fragment with heat
 In specific designs can look like cinders
 Knowledge of anthropologist needed!
Is it human?
 Human bone is layered, (growth patterns)
 Microscopic examination reveals;
 Osteomes are circular random
Random patterns seen in primates
DNA analysis or Electon Microscopy
 When fragments too small to reveal patterns
 Oddities and similarities;
 Bear hand
 Sea turtle femur
 Microcephaly
Organic Analysis
 Histological evidence along with structural
differences and spectral specificity are tied to
particular elements and proportion of elements in
 Standard samples of bone and teeth established!
Age of death
 Arthritic vertebrae; spiny joint/terminal regions- old
 Young no spines
 Teeth: crown and root development for adults
 Are primary teeth present?
 1st molar; 6 yrs
2nd molar 12 yrs
 Bone loss in mature adults
Teeth and Jaws
 Adult: Secondary teeth erupted
 Third molars erupted or fully formed in jaw
 Teen or child may have primary teeth remaining or
secondary teeth with a sprinkling of primary teeth.
 Teeth may reveal health; limits of lifestyle
 Translucence of root increases with age
VERY interesting….
 Bones found in remains from birthdate 1950 and
earlier have less Carbon 14 in bone than remains
from birthdate post-1950
 Nuclear age even varies content and quality of
 Data correlated on the
Bomb Curve Intersect!
 To determine manner of death
 To determine legal responsibility
 Bones experience slow decay and
decomposition of the skeletal components &
yield evidence after centuries of exposure to
the elements.
Bones reveal origin, sex, age, race
and skeletal scarring and injury.
Tuberculosis history…
 Fungal disease shows alteration on
skeletal tissue
 Cavitation- bone loss/wearing
 Metal plate tracing!
 Implanted metal plates are
imprinted with company insignia and can identify
 Facial reconstruction all computerized now; excellent for
Ante or Post Mortem ?
 Or peri mortem?
 Healings of bone continues… ante
 Animal chewing marks- rounded if animal
 Sharp if weapon/knife or saw
 Case: State of FL vs. Baglioni 1978- Disney World
abduction; psychic aided in investigation; body
found; corrugated pubic symphysis; gun shot wound
Why need for FA?
•L O N G B U R I E D O R N O T
•F I R E
•E X P L O S I O N
•C R A S H E S / A C C I D E N T S
•A N C I E N T O R H I S T O R I C A L
•M U L T I P L E B O D I E S / M A S S
•W A R V I C T I M S
The Big 4
 Forensic anthropologists attempt to answer the
1. What sex?
2. What race?
 (Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid
are the terms used for
racial features)
3. Age
4. Stature
No skin please…
 Flesh impedes the anthropological study
 Flesh bloats, discolors, and distorts original human
 Bone reveals more information to identify remains
than decayed flesh
 Flesh may contain DNA useful for i.d.
Skull bones
Each and every skull bone
is vital to determine the
big 4 and other
characteristics of an
Human skull sex differences
 Female skull smaller than male
 Gracile; smooth and streamlined
 Brow ridges smooth, not pronounced
 Orbit sockets; upper feature sharp,
steep edges
 Female mouth narrower than male
and chin pointed
Skull, cont’d
 Male skull has heavier, thicker brow ridges
 Less fine, not as steep, orbit sockets
 Orbit sockets tend to be squarer than female
 Less pointed chin; square jaw phenomenon
 Occipital protruberance in male; absent in female
skull (occipital bone of skull in back of skull)
Skull Age
 Child skull small; even teenage years
 Size dependent on age
 Lack of ossification of skull bones; young, non-
 Sutures on skull indicative of age
 Non fused; open sutures
 Adult skull has fused sutures, partially or entirely
Race and Skulls
 Negroid vs. Caucasian Skull
 Negroid:
 Prognasthasism; jutting of maxilla and mandible
 Test with pencil from nose to chin
 If pencil touches teeth but not chin
 Bone is denser; sheen and ivory color
 Nasal openings broader than Caucasoid skull
 WHY?
Race and Skulls
 Mongoloids: shovel-shaped teeth
 Concave like incisors/upper
 Squared eye sockets
 Zygomatic arches are longer
 May be shorter distance to orbital sockets
 Greater width between eyes from other 2 races
Race and Skulls
 Caucasoid
 Skull is orthognathic
 Less jaw jut forward
 Pencil test would touch nose
to chin/jaws
 Narrower nasal openings, why?
 Less dense bones, color varies
Long Bones
And sex….
 Hip
 (ilium and ischium prior to
 Inominate bone after puberty
 Femur (upper leg)
 Humerus (upper arm)
 Pre puberty: Ischium, Ilium and pubis
 Post puberty: inonimate bone of hip:
flared ears of elephant?
Female: distinct
changes with
age/stages of
development in hip
Male: hip bones do not
vary/change in life
Hip differences of sexes
Female hip changes
 Mature hip bone broadens
 Pubic bone gets longer
 All to accommodate childbirth
 Pubis symphysis changes through life stages.
Spongy, more brittle after 40 yrs or so.
Corrugated- young ; smooth- mature
Male pelvis narrow; pelvis to femur straight
Differences in the way we walk?
The hip swing of females so enjoyed by males!
Long bones
 How femur and humerus articulate
with joint bones determines
right or left bone
Know major bones
limbs; arms
legs, hips,
vertebrae, ribs,
and sternum
 Long bones reveal much about stature
 Remember Bertillon? Anthropometry?
 Height varies but proportions do not
 Extremities often missing in nature,
Cases and readings with FA
 The Sea Will Tell, by Vincent Bugliosi
 Buck Dwayne Walker convicted of double murder
 Dr. Bill Bass, Anthropologist, U of Tennessee wrote
 Death’s Acre,Runs the Anthropological Institute
(body farm)
 Bones, by Douglas Ublecker
 Patricia Cornwall, Body Farm
For you to do…
Research what Mildred Trotter
and Goldine Gleser studied.
What contribution did they
make to forensic anthropology?
What you will do….
Find three comprehensive FA
Case study on a case
involving FA!
The Body Farm
Dr. Bill Bass, U of Tennessee,
Anthropology Dept.
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