Determining forensic significance, Human vs.

non-human remains 12:52:00


So…you found some bones? • Are they bones? • Are they human? • If so, are they forensically significant? Human vs. Non-Human • About ¼ of the cases brought to Forensic Anthropologists are nonhuman • How can we tell? o Maturity o Architecture (shape/morphology) Maturity • Key differences: o Epiphyses  The developing end of the bone  Subadult humans have unfused epiphyses  Adult mammals will have fused epiphyses Architecture • All mammal bones have the same basic composition • Human bones are shaped differently • Why? o Posture and locomotion

How we stand and move

4 legs vs. 2 legs • quadruped o most mammals o similar bone architecture for 4-legged stance • biped o humans only! (for purposes of this class) o specialized for bipedal stance Skull • Foramen magnum placement! o Quadrupeds have them more toward the back o Humans have then around the center of the skull Spine • Human o Vertebrae increase in size o Short spinous processes o 3 curves • Non human o Uniform size of vertebrae o Long spinous processes o 2 curves

Spine Curvature • Humans o Cervical lordosis o Thoracic kyphosis o Lumbar lordosis Ribs • Human o Curved and flatter • Non human o Straighter and rounder o May have sternal ribs  Attach to the sternum Pelvis • Human o Bowl-shaped o Curved, short ilia • Non human o Longer, narrower o Blade-like ilia Appendicular Skeleton • Long bones

Human • • • •

o Human  Long and skinny o Non human  Shorter and fat Cortical bone o Human  Thin o Non human  Thick Muscle attachments o Human  More gracile o Non human  Thicker hands vs. Bear paws Bones look very similar BUT . . . Distal phalanges: bears have claws! Metacarpals: o Humans is thicker o Bears – extra groove

Sesamoids: o Really small bones that formed in tendons that help joints move o Humans – two only on THUMB o Bears – two on ALL digits “Odd” Bones • metapodials o fused carpals and metacarpals or fused tarsals and metatarsals o fused metapodials not found in humans at all • baculum o penis bone o found in most mammals o NOT in humans Forensic Significance So…they bones are human • Are they of Medicolegal importance? • Contemporary vs. non-contemporary remains Contemporary vs. Non-Contemporary • State of preservation o Outside, buried, how-long

Body modification o Any type intentional modification to how a bone looks o Cranial Modifications   “cradle boarding” prehistoric societies

o Medical Prosthetics  Plates, screws.

o Dental modifications     • Wear from use Aesthetic/surgical practice Prehistoric: filing, inlays Contemporary: fillings, bridges, caps

Personal belongings o What time period and such. o Prehistoric  Stone tools, pottery o Historic  Historic clothing, jewelry

o Contemporary  • Modern clothing, jewelry

Conditions of internment

Is he buried, found in a pile, tossed in the back of a cave Body arrangement Direction of face Pretreatment? Burial enclosure State of Preservation • How the bone looks (Taphonomy) o Color  Usually a yellowish color. After time it turns a bit white, might get stained. o Texture  Fresh bones are smooth. Like ivory. A little bit greasy from the body fat. Over time it gets a bit rougher. o Hydration  Newer bones have more water in it. It will be heavier as well. Over time water leaks out of the bone. The dryer the bone the longer the person’s been dead or the bone has been outside. o Weight  Fresh is heavier. o Condition/fragmentation o Fragility  Newer bone more solid. Not as fragile o Amount of soft tissue Osteometry o o o o o • Measurement of the skeleton

• • • •

Subadult age Sex Ancestry Stature

Osteometric devices • • • • Osteometric board Spreading calipers Sliding calipers Mandibulometer

Osteometric Points • • Standardized landmarks on the skull Types o Unpaired or unpaired o

25/01/2008 12:52:00

25/01/2008 12:52:00