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Forensic Anthropology


Forensic Anthropology What can it tell us? Vocabulary Anthropology the scientific study of the origins and behavior as well as the physical, social, and cultural ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Forensic Anthropology

Forensic Anthropology
  • What can it tell us?

  1. Anthropology the scientific study of the
    origins and behavior as well as the physical,
    social, and cultural development of humans
  2. Epiphysis the presence of a visible line that
    marks the place where cartilage is being replaced
    by bone
  3. Forensic anthropology the study of physical
    anthropology as it applies to human skeletal
    remains in a legal setting
  4. Joints locations where bones meet
  5. Mitochondrial DNA DNA found in the mitochondria
    that is inherited only through the mother
  6. Ossification the process that replaces soft
    cartilage with hard bone by the deposition of

  1. Osteobiography the physical record of a
    persons life as told by his or her bones
  2. Osteoblast a type of cell capable of migrating
    and depositing new bone
  3. Osteoclast a bone cell involved in the breaking
    down of bone and removal of wastes
  4. Osteocyte an osteoblast that becomes trapped in
    the construction of bone a living bone cell
  5. Osteoporosis weakening of bone that may happen
    due to lack of calcium in the diet
  6. Skeletal trauma analysis the investigation of
    bones and the marks on them to uncover a
    potential cause of death

What will we cover?
  • How bone is formed
  • Distinguish between male and female skeletal
    remains based on skull, jaw, brow ridge, pelvis,
    and femur
  • Describe how bones contain a record of injuries
    and disease
  • Describe how a persons approximate age could be
    determined by examining his or her bones
  • Explain the differences in facial structures
    among different races
  • Describe the role of mitochondrial DNA in bone

  • 1800s scientists began using skull measurements
    to differentiate human bodies
  • 1897 Luetgert murder case man killed his wife
    and boiled down her remains
  • Fragments of skull, finger and arm found
  • 1932 FBI opened first crime lab helping
    identify human remains
  • 1939 William Krogman published Guide to the
    Identification of Human Skeletal Material

History Contd
  • WWII remains of soldiers identified using
    anthropological means
  • Recently new mitochondrial DNA techniques have
    identified Romanov family skeletal remains

Development of Bone
  • Bones originate from osteoblasts
  • Begin in fetus as soft cartilage
  • Osteoblasts harden (ossificate) during first few
    weeks of life to become bone

Development of Bone
  • All of our lives bone is deposited, broken down
    and replaced
  • Osteocytes cells that form basic framework for
    new bone

Development of Bone Functions of Osteoclasts
  • Osteoclasts
  • Specialized to dissolve and shape bone as you age
  • Also help maintain homeostasis of calcium
  • Dissolve bone when calcium is needed and release
    into blood
  • Can lead to osteoporosis
  • When bone is injured secrete enzymes that
    dissolve broken bone so new bone can be laid down

Number of Bones
  • Children 450
  • Children have bones that eventually suture
  • Adult 206 after all bones have fully developed

How Bones Connect
  • Joints locations where bones meet
  • Three types of connective tissue
  • Cartilage wraps ends of bones for protection
    and to keep from scraping
  • Ligaments bands of tissue that connect two or
    more bones
  • Tendons connect muscle to bone

Aging of Bone
  • What can bone tell us?
  • Children build bones faster and bones grow in
  • After 30 years process starts to reverse and
    bones deteriorate faster than built
  • Can be slowed by exercise
  • of bones and their condition can tell a
    persons age, health, and calcium in food

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  • The story of a life as told by bones
  • Things we can see
  • Loss of bone density, poor teeth, signs of
  • Previous fractures, artificial joints, and pins
  • Right-handed vs. left-handed
  • Physical labor

Surface of Bones
  • Males vs. Females
  • Males appearance usually thicker, rougher,
  • Due to muscle connections, bigger body size
  • Females smoother (gracile) and less knobby

Skulls Bones to Know
  • Maxilla
  • Mandible
  • Zygomatic bone
  • Vomer bone
  • Frontal bone
  • Nasal bone
  • Orbit (eye socket)
  • Sphenoid bone
  • Sutures (between skull bones)

Skulls Male vs. Female Frontal View
Male Trait Female
Low and sloping Frontal Bone Higher and more rounded
More Square Shape of Eye (orbits) More Rounded
More Square Mandible (Lower Jaw) More V-shaped
Thicker and larger Upper Brow Ridge (Zygomatic) Thinner and smaller
Skulls Male vs. Female Side View
Male Trait Female
Present Occipital protuberance Absent
Lower and more sloping Frontal bone Higher and more rounded
Bumpy and rough Surface of skull smooth
Angled at 90 (straight) Mandible (Jaw bone) Greater than 90 (sloping)
Male Vs. Female Skull
Pelvis Anatomy
  • Bones to Know
  • Ilium
  • Ischium
  • Pubis
  • Sacrum
  • Coccyx
  • Pubic symphysis
  • Obturator Foramen

Pelvis Male vs. Female
  • Things to consider
  • Sub-pubic angle
  • Length, width, shape, angle of sacrum
  • Width of ileum
  • Angle of sciatic notch

Pelvis Male vs. Female
Male Trait Female
50-82 degrees Subpubic angle gt 90 degrees
Triangular pubis Shape of pubis Rectangular pubis
Heart shaped Shape of pelvic cavity Oval shaped
Longer, narrower, curved inward sacrum Shorter, broader, curved outward
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Pelvis Male vs. Female
  • Other differences in female pelvis
  • Often weighs less
  • Surface engraved with scars after female has
    given birth
  • Can be detected most at pubic symphysis
  • Thigh Bone Femur
  • Angle of femur to pelvis is greater in females
    and straighter in males
  • Male femur is thicker than female femur

Distinguishing Age
  • Bones dont reach maturity at the same time To
    help tell their age
  • suture marks
  • presence or absence of cartilage

Suture Marks
  • Zigzag areas where bones of the skull meet
  • In babies, some is soft tissue that is gradually
  • Suture marks slowly fade to give smoother
    appearance as bones age

Suture Marks Contd
  • Coronal Suture
  • closed by age 50
  • Lamboidal Suture
  • begins closing at 21
  • accelerates at 26
  • closed by 30

Cartilaginous Lines
  • Epiphysis line that forms as cartilage is
    replaced by bone
  • Also called Epiphyseal plate
  • Line disappears as bone completes growth
  • Presence or absence of this can approximate age

Long Bones
  • When head of a long bone has fused with shaft
    completely indication of age
  • Each bone takes different amount of time

Long Bones Chart
Region of Body Bone Age
Arm Humerus bones in head fused 4-6
Humerus bones in head fused to shaft 18-20
Leg Femur greater trochanter appears 4
Lesser trochanter appears 13-14
Femur head fused to shaft 16-18
Femur condoyles join shaft 20
Long Bones Chart 2
Region of Body Bone Age
Shoulder Sternum and clavicle close 18-24
Pelvis Pubis, ischium completely united 7-8
Ilium, ischium, pubis fully ossified 20-25
All segments of sacrum united 25-30
Skull Lamboidal suture closed 21-30
Sagittal suture closed 32
Coronal suture closed 50
Estimating Height
  • Measuring long bones like femur or humerus can
    help estimate height
  • Databases established that use mathematical
  • Different tables for males, females, and races
  • Example
  • A femur measuring 49 cm belonging to an African
    American male is found.
  • Calculation 2.10(length of femur)72.22 cm
  • 2.10(49) 72.22 175.12 cm or
  • 69 inches (59)

Distinguishing Race
  • This is losing its significance in differences
  • Two biggest differences are in skull and femur
  • Shape of eye sockets
  • Absence or presence of nasal spine
  • Nasal index width of nasal opening X 100
  • height of nasal opening
  • Prognathism projection of upper jaw (maxilla)
    beyond the lower jaw (mandible)
  • Width of face
  • Angulation of jaw and face

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Distinguishing Race
Caucasoid Negroid Mongoloid
Shape of Eye Orbits Rounded, somewhat square Rectangular Rounded, somewhat circular
Nasal Spine Prominent spine Very small spine Somewhat prominent spine
Nasal Index lt.48 gt.53 .48-.53
Prognathism Straight Prognathic Variable
Femur Fingers fit under curvature of femur Fingers dont fit under curvature of femur Fingers fit under curvature of femur
Other things bones can tell
  • Left or right-handed
  • Diet and nutritional dairy, esp. vit D and
  • Diseases or genetic disorders
  • Osteoporosis, arthritis, scoliosis, osteogenesis
  • Type of work or sports based on bone structure
  • Previous injuries such as fractures
  • Surgical implants artificial joints, pins
  • Childbirth

Facial Reconstruction
  • Theoretically possible to build a face from
    skeleton up using clay
  • Related to size and shape of muscles and tissues
    that overlay bones
  • Specific markers on face are used
  • Reconstruction attempted on
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • King Tut
  • Same techniques used to age missing persons
  • http//

Reconstruction of Bach
DNA Evidence
  • Mitochondrial DNA degrades much, much, much
  • Can be extracted from bones and compared to
    living relatives on mothers side of family

Skeletal Trauma Analysis
  • Forensic scientists trained to recognize marks
    made by weathering and animals
  • A knife wound on rib leaves a mark that might
    look similar to rodent chew marks
  • Goal is to tell the difference in marks made by
    patterns in weapons, and marks made by weathering
  • Forensic anthropologists try to determine cause
    of death and weapon

Skeletal Trauma Analysis
  • Sharp-force and blunt-force trauma, gunshot, and
    knife wounds all have distinctive patterns
  • Living bone flexible compared to old and brittle
  • Bones break differently when living versus when