Brief history of forensic anthropology 12:44:00

Important Announcement • Final syllabus posted online o Exam 1: Mon, Feb. 11 o Exam 2: Fri, Mar. 21 o Exam 3: Thurs, May. 1


readings • required: Byers Chapter 1 • recommended (on e-learning): o C. Snow article – history of forensic anthropology o T.D. Stewart article – Luetgert Case Today’s Class • • • • what is forensic anthropology? How does it fit into the field of anthropology? What do forensic anthropology do? Who were the main people influential in starting the field? How has the field changed over time? What are the major events in development?

What is anthropology?

The study of the biological and cultural aspects of all humans in all places in all times. • Four main fields o Biological  Primate behavior and studies, evolution of humans and ancestors o Cultural  Studying their traditions, both historical and modern o Archeology  Historical sites, looking at skeletons and actual locations where people might have lived o Linguistic  How languages change and how they interact What are forensic sciences? • Fields of study in medicine and jurisprudence that deal with legal issues, both criminal and civil • Any scientific field applied to the law o Toxicology o Entomology o Pathology o Anthropology Forensic anthropology as an interdisciplinary field • Combines biological anthropology and forensic science o Study of skeletal material that comes under the jurisdiction of law enforcement and similar agencies (i.e. medico legal context)

What makes skeletal material of medico-legal interest? o Human  Not human, not really important o If you have to testify in court  Blunt force trauma, dental records and such o Skeletons over 50 years are dealt as historical, if 50 years or less then it is important Definition: ABFA • Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of physical anthropology to the legal process. • The identification of skeletal, badly decomposed, or otherwise unidentified human remains is important for both legal and humanitarian reasons. Questions Concerning human remains • Who is the person? • When did they die? • How did they die? Types of cases analyzed • Decomposed o Might be a few days, 5 years. All states of decomposition. • Burned • Buried • Surface recovery • Partial skeletonization • Complete skeletonized

• Human rights • Cremation analysis • Mass fatalities Main objectives of a forensic anthropologist • Create a biological profile • Identify traumatic events • Time since death (postmortem interval) • Location/recovery of remains • Identifying characteristics Data gathering methods • Anthroposcopy = visual inspection of the human body • Osteometry = measurement of human bone • Histology = study of the microstructure of bone and teeth • DNA analysis on bones if you think you know the relatives 1. Biological Profile • determination of: o human vs. non-human o sex of an individual  depends on what bones you have o age  certain parts of the skeleton are better to determine age





o ancestry  skull is critical for this o stature Traumatic Events • identify nature of traumatic event on the bone and how it occurred • blunt force trauma and sharp force trauma Time Since Death • determination of postmortem interval (PMI) o the amount of time that has passed since death • is it of forensic significance? o Recent? o Historic? o Prehistoric? Location/Recovery of Remains • location and recovery of buried or surface remains using archaeological methods o being able to preserve the context of things Identifying Characteristics • provide information useful in obtaining positive identifications o dental work is great o teeth last a lot better than bone o x-ray comparison

a weird skeletal issue. Broken bones and such that had surgery. o Broken bones o Surgical devices o Unique attributes Relationship of FA with MEO and Law Enforcement • Body recovery o Better knowledge of what they are looking for • Body identification • Scene analysis o If this were scattered it might provide some information • Trauma • Testify in court o About the findings History of forensic anthropology  three periods • formative (1800s – 1938) • Consolidation (1939 – 1971) • Modern (1972 – present) formative period (1800s – 1938)

• • •

no such thing as “forensic anthropology” skeletal identification o nothing fancy about it current forensic anthropology has it roots in o anatomy o biological anthropology Parkman Murder (1849) o Dr. Parkman  Rich physician o Dr. Webster  Borrowed money from Parkman  Parkman wanted his money back  Killed and dismembered Parkman  Placed body pieces in different places o Two anatomists, Holmes and Wyman investigate the death o First to use some of the methods still used today o Webster claimed they were “anatomical specimens” o Holmes and Wyman determined the body was of 5’10” white mal, 50-60 years old o They found no evidence of embalming fluid o Park man was identified by the dentist that made his new dentures Thomas Dwight (1843 – 1911)

o Father of forensic anthropology o Anatomist at Harvard o Human skeletal Identification  Age, height, and sex  Stature estimates  Emphasized human variation and that it could be used to identified someone Luetgert “Sausage Vat” Murder (1897) o Adolph Luetgert was accused of killing his wife o He mixed the body in the sausage factory with hot potash o Turned her body into soap and her bones into “jelly” o They found a few pieces of evidences which were smaller than a quarter o Anthropologist George Dorsey testified the fragments were human, hand, foot, and rib bones o First “forensic anthropologist” to testify in court

09/01/2008 12:44:00

09/01/2008 12:44:00

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