Interpreting forensic anthropological evidence


Case Study: Interpreting Forensic Anthropological Evidence (15% of course grade)

Worth: 15% of total course grade

The case study has two parts:

Part 1: Inventory: Describe the pieces of evidence that you have been provided using the proper inventory format, thus creating an inventory list. Evaluate the relevance of each item to determine which items are necessary in your investigation. For skeletal material, a simple chart/list with notation of P (present) or A (absent) will suffice. You can also use the forms that I have uploaded in the classroom.
Consider what information can be determined from each item?

Part 2: Final report: Write the final report. Draw conclusions based on and supported by specific scientific skeletal evidence. Use as much skeletal evidence as possible to support your analysis. Be thorough, but also remember to be realistic. Anthropologists can only work with what is actually available. As cool as it may be, we don't have the imager that Angela uses on "Bones" to recreate images/trauma. If there is data missing, (such as data for stature) you can provide a realistic analysis for this. Detail the methods that were used to determine each biological profile subsection.

Your inventory and final report should focus on skeletal or bone evidence, emphasizing forensic anthropology. The report should be organized into biological profile subheadings (age, sex, ancestry, trauma identification, stature). The report should be approximately 2 to 4 pages, double spaced, in APA format.



Human skeletal remains were presented to your lab for analysis. The evidence arrived in separate paper bags. Within the bags were skeletal material, clothing, and a backpack. The skeletal remains were comprised of a mandible, both os coxae, right femur, right tibia and fibula, right radius, left tibia and fibula, left humerus, left scapula, and a left clavicle.

No information about the recovery or subsequent care of the material was given at this time.

Condition of Remains:

The bones exhibit a slight acrid odor, and are slightly greasy to the touch. Pupa cases can be seen in a foramen found within the suprascapular fossa of the left scapula, in the pubic symphyseal ridges of the right os coxa, and the clothing. Plant materials, soils, and soil staining are immediately apparent, and the left os coxa demonstrates a substantially lighter color than the rest of the postcranial skeletal remains.

Gross morphology of the innominate, the following features are listed: obtuse sciatic notch, the presence of a ventral arc on the pubis, obtuse subpubic angle, and a small acetabulum. An assessment of the auricular surface of the os coxae indicates that a non-granular surface, lack of macroporosity, some billowing, lack of striations, a sharp apex, a very smooth retroauricular area.

The vertebral border of the left scapula appears to be in the process of fusing. The medial surface of the left clavicle is in the process of fusing. The epiphyseal union of the iliac crest is almost complete; however, the epiphyseal line is clearly visible, and remains incompletely fused on the posterior border.

Mandible has complete dentition, including right and left 3rd molars. Teeth show little wear. Mandible is narrow with a rounded chin and Gonial angle is >125.

Measurements taken from the right femur is 46.9 cm. Right fibula measurement is 36.2 cm. Right tibia is 36.08. Right radius is 25.6 cm.

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Microeconomics: Interpreting forensic anthropological evidence
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