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NYU / Engineering / ANTH 326 / susan anton nyu

susan anton nyu

susan anton nyu


School: New York University
Department: Engineering
Course: Introduction to Forensic Anthropology
Professor: Sarah anton
Term: Spring 2018
Tags: forensic anthropology, midterm, and bones
Cost: 50
Name: Forensic Anthropology Midterm Study Guide
Description: Study Guide for upcoming midterm. Use in conjunction with previous bone photos
Uploaded: 03/06/2018
13 Pages 10 Views 6 Unlocks

Forensic Anthropology Midterm Study Guide

Anthropology is the study of what?

ANTH UA: 326 Dr. Susan Anton

Highlight = Important People Highlight = Key Term Highlight = Important Concept

[Death & Those Who Study It]

• Anthropology: the study of humans

o Forensic Anthropology: application of physical anthropology knowledge of bones as it applies to human  skeletal remains in a legal context  

• Osteology: skeletal anatomy and biology

o Aids in identification and cause of death of skeletal remains

Coroner vs. Medical Examiner

• Both positions of power

• Coroner: elected official; may or may not be medically trained

• Medical Examiner: appointed officially; usually MD or forensic RN

Cases Accepted by ME’s Office

• Homicides • Suicides • Accidents • Drug abuse

• Child deaths

• Unexplained deaths • Decomposed remains • Death in custody

• Medically unattended death • No one to make  

What is Osteology?


Chain of Custody: Very important should the case go to court

• Several agencies involved  

o Prosecutors office collects evidence at the scene

o Evidence given to ME, who determines cause of death, manner of death, & any additional factors leading to  death; Decides whether to get Forensic Anthropologist involved  

Forensic Anthropology

• Deals with remains that are of medico-legal significance; < 50-70 years old

• Might be used in mass disasters

• Originally used as a determination of suicide in 18th century when it was illegal

• Objectives of FA 

o Biological Profile

▪ Age, gender, size, other characteristics

o Trauma analysis

▪ Lifetime trauma and trauma leading to death Don't forget about the age old question of thea 211a textbook notes

o Time since death

o Scene recovery/mapping

o Expert Testimony

• When Forensic Anthropologists get involved  

what is the difference between a coroner and a medical examiner?

Don't forget about the age old question of souto soup

o Skeletonized remains o Badly decomposed remains

o Bodies found in water

o Burned remains

• Biological anthropology is young

• Early biological anthropologists were anatomists • First used in the US, then spread worldwide

Formative Period: Early 1800s-1938 

• Thomas Dwight(1843-1911)

o Father of forensic anthropology

o Any case in which mechanism of trauma is  questionable


o Parkman professor at anatomy at Harvard

o Researched age, height, sex from sternum

• Stature estimated from upper long limb bones

• Age at death from suture closure of cranial bones

o Participated in medico-legal investigations

o Parkman murder investigation was first major case involving FA

• George Dorsey (1867-1931)

o 1st PhD in Anthropology at Harvard

o Published on medico-legal applications

o Curator of Field Museum in Chicago

o Testified in Chicago murder trial against Adolf Luetgart who killed his wife and disposed of her in  sausage vat

• Ales Hrdlicka (1869-1943) We also discuss several other topics like computer science midterm

o Initiated relationship between Smithsonian and FBI

o Founded AJPA in 1918 and AAPA in 1930

o Studied human evolution

• Earnest Hooton (1887-1954)

o Physical anthropologist

o Harvard

• W. Montague Cobb (1904-1990) Don't forget about the age old question of the digestive organs collectively make up the

o Howard University, DC

o WM Cobb Collection

Formative Period: Collections 

• Hamann-Todd Collection 

o T Wingate Todd (1885-1938)

o Western Reserve University

o Cadavers for dissection

• Terry Collection 

o Robert J Terry (1871-1966)

o Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Consolidation Period: 1939-1971 

• Includes WWII and Korean War periods

o Studied primate evolution and  criminology

o Trained by W Todd

o President of AADA and NAACP

o Collected over 3000 skeletons o Cleveland, OH

o 1967 collection moved to Smithsonian o 2000 individuals

• Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii 

o Important milestone

o Created for identification of dead from pacific war

o Established link between forensic anthropology and military  

• Wilton M Krogman (1903-1987)

o Guide to identification of human remains for FBI

o Anatomist & Physical Anthropologist trained at Chicago

o The Human Skeleton in Forensic Medicine (1962)

• Mildred Trotter (1899-1991)

o Washington University

o Used skeletons of war dead at CIL to further identification efforts

• T. Dale Stewart (1901-1997)

o Curator, division of physical anthropology, Smithsonian institution and later director of Museum of  Natural History

o Personal Identification of Mass Disasters, 1970

o Essentials of Forensic Anthropology, 1979 We also discuss several other topics like odacer

o Consultant of the FBI

• Thomas McKern 

o Berkeley

o Worked with Stewart to identify skeletal age changes in young males

Modern Period: 1972-Present 

• Physical anthropology section added to AAFS in 1972

• ABFA Diplomats 1977

• Validation Period: 2009

o Needed validation of forensic practices after tv shows began giving people (jurors) unrealistic  expectations of forensic evidence We also discuss several other topics like which psychological perspective emphasizes unconscious thought, the conflict between the biological instincts and society's demands, and early family experiences?

• AAFS: American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 2018

o 120 fellows  

o 61 members

o 118 associative members

History of the Autopsy 

• Hsi Yaun Lu, China (1250)

• 1507: 1st written autopsy in England

• Late 16th Century: medico-legal autopsies in England

o 140 student affiliates o 82 applicants

o Coroners were seen as “keepers of the crown”, did most of the policing work • Late 1800s: development of medical examiner systems, brought from England to America • 1954: Model Postmortem Examination Act

[Discovery & Recovery]

The Autopsy 

• Identification of the body

o Visual identification o Photo ID

o Dental records

o Finger prints

• X-Ray Remains

o Determine presence and location of projectiles o Identify fractures

o Compare to anti-mortem records

• Examine Clothing

o Clothing on body is photographed

o Scars/tattoos o Anthropology

o Once removed, clothing is examined for damage, blood, holes, etc. • External Examination

o External body is photographed and examined

o Location of injuries, scars, tattoos, pooling of blood

• The Autopsy 

1. Y-Incision

2. Removal of rib cage

3. Blood sample of the heart 4. Organs removed and weighed 5. Portions collected for  histology/toxicology

6. Projectiles collected

7. Other organs removed

8. Skull removed, brain examined 9. Organs replaced

10. Body sewn and put back together 11. Report written

12. Body released to family

• This process is for fleshed individuals. Similar process/protocols for remains without soft tissue

What Happens After Death? 

• Primary flaccidity

• Algor Mortis 

o Cooling [(98.4-rectal temp)/1.5= hours since death]

o May be affected by environment

• Rigor Mortis 

o Hardening of body; muscles contract

o Begins 2-6 hours since death; usually lasts 2 days

o Affected by environment and body type (muscle condition)

• Livor Mortis (lividity)

o Blood pools

o 8-12 hours

o Tells you original position of body post death and if it was moved

• Putrefaction 

o Greenish skin, strong odor, skin slippage, bloating, fluid leakage

o Putrescine & Cadaverine, tongue/eyes protrude, organs rupture and liquefy • Skeletonization 

o Weeks post death

o Happens faster in the summer because of heat and increased amount of bugs

Cold Environment=slower decomposition

Hot Environment=faster decomposition

Presence of bugs/maggots can give idea of time since death

[The Skeleton, Life, & Behavior]

Evolution: descent with modification

• Natural selection: favored characteristics that help survival passed onto future generations • Theory of Evolution

1. Organisms vary  

2. Variation is heritable

3. Some variation is more advantageous

4. Organisms with those are favored

5. They will have more offspring

6. Offspring will resemble parents

7. More of that trait passed in the next generation than previous

• Homology vs Analogous characters

o Homology: similarities due to common structure and origin (evolutionary descent o Analogous Characters: similarities due to common function NOT STRUCTURE (no evolutionary  relationship)

▪ Ex: wings does not equal related

Bone Biology


• 206 bones in adult humans

• allows for interaction & storage

• framework of body

Bones: living tissue that responds to stress

• Deposit Bone 

o Osteoblast: cells that lay down bone, then become osteocyte (bone cells)

• Resorb Bone 

o Osteoclast: eats bone

Anatomical Terminology 

• Standard Anatomical Position: biped; Standing,  feet together, palms forward, thumbs away from  body

• Frankfurt Horizontal: a plane determined by the  highest point on the upper margin of the opening  of each external auditory canal and the low point  on the lower margin of the left orbit; ear-to-eye  plane

• Proximal/Distal: closer to center of body/further  from center of body

• Anterior/Posterior: front/back

• Superior/Inferior: towards the head end/towards  the feet end

• Dorsal/Ventral: toward the back side/toward the  belly side

• Dorsal/Palmar: back of hand/palm side • Dorsal/Plantar: top of foot/sole of the foot • Medial/Lateral: closer to midline/further from  midline

• Cranial Skeleton: entire skull (cranium and  mandible)

• Postcranial Skeleton: neck and below  • Axial Skeleton: cranium+spinal column+rib  cage+sternum

• Appendicular Skeleton: appendages (limbs, shoulder girdle, pelvic girdle


• Sagittal: divides the body into symmetrical right and left halves

• Coronal: splits the body into anterior and posterior halves

• Transverse: divides the body through the midsection, perpendicular to the sagittal and coronal planes

Cranial Sutures 

• Sagittal: junction between 2 partials  

• Coronal: junction of frontal, 2 parietals, greater wing sphenoid

• Lambdoidal: junction of parietals, occipital

• Squamosal: junction of temporal and parietal

• Sphenoccipital Synchondrosis: between sphenoid and occipital

Craniometrical Points 

Of Vault

• Bregma: junction of sagittal and coronal  sutures

• Glabella: most anterior projecting point on  frontal

• Pterion: region at junction of sphenoid,  frontal, parietal

Of Face

• Lambda: junction of sagittal and lamdoidal  suture

• Opisthocranion: most posteriorly projecting  point on occipital

• Nasion: junction of internasal suture and nasofrontal suture • Nasospinale: at the junctions of the nasal spines on the maxilla Of Base

• Basion: anterior midline point on rim of foramen magnum • Opisthion: posterior midline point on rim of foramen magnum

Other Terms 

• Skull: includes everything below

o Mandible: lower jaw o Cranium: skull minus jaw

o Calvaria: brain cage minus facial features o Calotte: skull cap

• Frontal Bone: bone that forms the front part of the skull and the upper part of the eye sockets o Frontal Sinus: pockets of space located above the orbit of each eye in the frontal bone o Temporal Lines: A line from the posterior edge of the zygomatic process of the frontal bone, curving  up and back, dividing into the superior and inferior temporal lines.

o Supraorbital Torus: brow bridge

• Parietal Bone: forms the central side and upper back part of each side of the skull o Parietal Eminence: eminence of parietal bone, indicates where ossification commences o Temporal Lines: give attachment to temporal fascia and indicate upper limit of the muscular origin of  temporal muscle

• Temporal Bones: form part of the side of the skull on each side and enclose the middle and inner ear o Squama: forms the front and upper part of temporal bone and is scale-like, thin and translucent o Petrous Portion: pyramid-shaped and is wedged in at the base of the skull

o External Auditory Meatus: passage or opening leading into the ear

o Temporomandibular Joint: joints connecting the jawbone to the skull between temporal bone and  mandible

o Mastoid Process: a conical prominence of the temporal bone behind the ear, to which neck muscles  are attached, and which has air spaces linked to the middle ear.

• Occipital Bone  

o Foramen Magnum: the hole in the base of the skull where the brain stem passes

o Nuchal Lines: four curved lines on the external surface of the occipital bone

o Occipital Condyles: each of two rounded knobs on the occipital bone that form a joint with the first  cervical vertebra

o External Occipital Protuberance: prominence on the outer surface of the occipital bone o Internal Occipital Protuberance: the point of intersection of the 4 divisions of the cruciform eminence  along the internal surface of the occipital bone

• Maxillae: upper jaw

o Anterior Nasal Spine: bony projection in the skull that serves as a cephalometric landmark o Maxillary Sinus: pyramid shaped, largest of sinuses, drains into the middle meatus of nose • Mandible: lower jaw

o Corpus/Body: horseshoe shaped

o Ascending Ramus: a broad quadrilateral part of the mandible projecting upward from the posterior end  of the body behind the lower teeth

o Mandibular Condyles: The rounded protuberance on the back of the mandible which articulates with the  mandibular fossa in the temporal bone, as part of the mandibular joint.

o Mental Foramen: hole located on anterior surface of mandible, permits passage of mental nerve and  vessels

o Mental Eminence: the part of the chin that indents, people sometimes hold it when they think o Symphysis: small ridge of bone that represents fusion of the two halves during development, forms  shape of chin

• Auditory Ossicles: smallest bones in the body made up of malleus, incus, and stapes; serve to transmit and  amplify sound from the eardrum to the inner ear

• Palatine: located at back part of nasal cavity, comprises the hard palate

• Vomer: small thin bone separating the left and right nasal cavities

• Inferior Nasal Conchae: one of the turbinates in the nose, extends horizontally along the lateral wall of the  nasal cavity and consists of a lamina of spongy bone  

• Lacrimal: small bone forming part of the eye socket

• Zygomatic: cheekbone

• Nasals: two small oblong bones placed side by side at the middle and upper part of the face, junction makes  bridge of the nose

• Hyoid: small, u-shaped bone under the mandible

• Ethmoid: unpaired bone in the skull that separated the nasal cavity from the brain, located at the roof of the  nose

o Ethmoidal Sinus: one of four paired paranasal sinuses, small cavities in the lateral mass of each of the  ethmoid bones, not present at birth but develop by age 2

• Sphenoid: unpaired bone of the neurocranium, situated in the middle of the skull towards the front  o Sphenoidal Sinus: finish developing after puberty, contained within the body of the sphenoid • Dentition: pertains to the development of teeth and their arrangement in the mouth

o Incisors: narrow-edged tooth at the front of the mouth, adapted for cutting. There are four in each jaw

o Canines: pointed tooth between the incisors and premolars

o Premolars: teeth situated between canines and molar teeth, adult has 8 o Molars: the large flat grinding teeth in the back of the mouth


Know where to locate these bones  










Parietal (2)

Temporal (2)




Maxillae (2)

Zygomatic (2) Nasal (2)

Nasal Concha (2) Lacrimal (2)

Palatine (2)

Shoulder Girdle 













Ribs (24)


Cervical area (top 7 vertebrae) Thoracic (next 12)

Lumbar (bottom 5 vertebrae) Sacrum (5 fused bones)

Coccyx (very tip of  spine/tailbone)

Pelvic Girdle: 
















[Life in the Lab]

Concerns: Exposure Risk

• Biohazard training, precautions, materials

• Cleaning tools/workspaces

Processing Log 

1. Initial and date each entry

2. Fumigation

a. Gets rid of bugs  

3. Maceration

a. Separation of soft tissue from bone

4. Inventory

a. Reassemble skeletal remains

b. Goal is to determine all bones are human and if they belong to the same person  i. Look for irregular duplication, consistency in size, joint surface concurrence c. Note anti/peri/postmortem trauma

5. Radiography

a. X-rays

6. Labeling

7. Photography

8. Sign out remains

Human vs. Non-Human Remains 

• Maturity

o Small+unfused=subadult human

o Small+fused=animal

• Architecture

o Differences in shape, texture, rugosity

• All mammals have approximately same number of bones except…

o Postcervical

o Baculum

• Skull Differences: Humans have… o Large braincase  

o Reduced noses

o Enclosed orbit

o Wrist, hands, ankles, feet o Ribs

o Orbits directed anatomically o Reduced canines

o Fused mandible

[The Biological Profile]

Biological Profiles/Osteobiography

• Age estimation

• Sex estimation

• Stature

• Ancestry

• Antemortem, Perimortem, Postmortem Trauma

Biological profiles are important in the field of forensic anthropology because it helps to understand and ID the  person/skeleton. In mass accidents/disasters, it helps identify victims, which gives closure to families and ensures  that no survivors are still unfound

BioProfile: AGE  

• Adults are harder to age than kids because the developmental stages are over and degenerative changes  begin

Development Age: Dentition 

• Deciduous tooth eruption

o Incisors: 9months-1year

o Canines: 18months-2years

• Adult Tooth Eruption

o Molar 1: 6years

o Incisors: 7-8years (lower) &  

8-9years (upper)

Developmental Age: Epiphyseal Union 

• Elbow: 14years

• Hands/Feet: 15years

• Ankle: 16years

• Hip: 17-21years

Degenerative Age: Systematic changes as adults age • Rib cartilages

o Sternal 4th Rib

• Sacroiliac joint

• Pubic symphysis

o Molar 1: 18months-2years o Molar 2: 2-3years

o Premolars: 10-12years

o Canines: 11-12years

o Molar 2: 12years

• Knee: 18years

• Wrist: 19years

• Shoulder: 20years

o Young Adult: billowy or cloudlike surface appearance; irregular or underdeveloped rim o Middle Aged Adult: smoother surface with fine texture; regular rim with oval outline o Older Adult: pitted or porous surface; erosion of rib with extra bone formation

• Skull sutures

o Closure and fusion over the years

• Pelvis (usually first place to look for aging)

o Auricular Surface (surface of ilium)

o Young to Middle aged adults generally have smooth bone surfaces, rounded rim edge, indented  surface contour and irregular rim contour

o Older adults have more porous bone surfaces, irregular rim contour with projections, sharp rim  edges with thin walls, and u-shaped surface contours

Other indicators of age

• Ossified thyroid cartilage

• Relative occlusal wear

• Reduced bone mineral density BioProfile: SEX  

• Bone histology

• Dental histology/wear

• General overall size not accurate in determining sex, as there are bigger females and smaller males

Primary Sex Difference: The Pelvis 

• Evolutionary, human pelvis is narrow in order to allow our legs/feet to be directly below us so that we can  balance and walk on two legs (vs four legs like a dog)

• However, female pelvises are wider for childbirth

• Pelvis provides 98% accuracy of determining sex

• Differences:

o Sacrum

▪ Females: short/broad

▪ Males: long/narrow

o Preauricular Sulcus

▪ Females: often present

▪ Males: often absent

o Sciatic Notch

▪ Wider, more open in  


• Metric Assessment

o Ischiopublic Index: Pubis/Ischium (100) ▪ F: >94

▪ M: <84

o Humerus Vertical Diameter

▪ F: >43

▪ M: <47

• Immature Remains

o Supposed pelvic differences in fetuses

o Controversial and usually inaccurate

Secondary Sex Differences: The Skull 

o Ventral Arc

▪ Females: present

▪ Males: absent

o Base/Top of Sacrum

▪ Females: smaller body,  bigger wings

▪ Males: bigger body,  

smaller wings  

o Femoral Max Head Diameter ▪ F: <41.5

▪ M: >45.5



Brow Ridge







Short and narrow

Long and wide


No projection





*Note: there is variation between individuals and populations. Greater accuracy if you know your population*  

BioProfile: STATURE & WEIGHT  

• Stature decreases after 45years of age due to decrease of soft tissue

o Varies by population, socioeconomic status, health

o Men get shorter faster

Methods of Stature Estimation 

• Full Body Method (1890s)

o Used clay for soft tissue, measured entire skeleton

o Time consuming; didn’t always have full skeleton

• Regression Equations 

o Predicts against individual/multiple elements

o Find sample of known height????measure bones????regress against height????make an  equation????predict unknowns

o Issues: sample specific, range of error, different proportions

• Estimates of Bone

o Length from segments

o Femur to stature ratio

▪ Femur is some % of total height

▪ Calculated from the mean of multiple populations

▪ More accuracte than using wrong regression but less accurate than using right  regression

▪ Useful when you can’t know sex/ethnicity

Many different things affect stature

• Climate of where one lives

• Socioeconomic status

• Health

• Genetics

Weight Estimation 

• Combined fat mass+lean body mass

• Body mass varies greatly

o Body must be strong enough for support but light enough for movement

• Weight Bearing Sections

o Femoral cross section of shaft

o Femoral or acetabular joint area

o Lumbar body size

• Variation in Body Shape

o Bi-iliac Breadth, Clavicle Length

• Bone Density

o Proximal femur

• Cranial Estimates

o Thickness

o Orbital area and height


BioProfile: TRAUMA  


• Biological profile


• Dental Records

• Idiosyncratic Anatomy 

o Individual differences that usually have no affect on life

o Frontal sinus different in every individual (rarely can be absent)

o Cranial sutures can be different

• Antemortem Trauma

• Pathological Conditions

o Visible in medical images or retrievable in a medical record

o Includes trauma, congenital conditions, disease

Postmortem Trauma: Animal Scavenging 

• Bones scatter, break, pieces are removed

• Carnivores do most damage to bones

o Punctures, pits, fracture lines, splintering, depressed fractures, scoring, furrows • Rodents chew bones to wear down incisors and get calcium, leaving sharp edges on bone • Human-made trauma

o Humans usually cut at limbs (hands, feet), don’t remove scapulae or clavicle and the thorax  usually remains intact

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