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Skeleton keys ANT3520 Week 1 notes

by: Janaki Padmakumar

Skeleton keys ANT3520 Week 1 notes ANT3520

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Janaki Padmakumar
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These notes are modified with material from the textbook in additional to lecture material.
Skeleton Keys: Introduction to Forensic Anthropology
Amanda Friend
Class Notes
Anthropology, ethics, forensic anthropology




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This 14 page Class Notes was uploaded by Janaki Padmakumar on Thursday June 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANT3520 at University of Florida taught by Amanda Friend in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 43 views.


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Date Created: 06/30/16
Week 1 Notes ANT3520 Lecture 1 Intersection of anthropology and forensic sciences Anthrops=man ology= study of Anthropology = study of the cultural and biological aspects of all humans in all places at all times -Biological anthropology- focus of this class Forensic science- related to/dealing with applications of scientific knowledge and methods to a legal context, both civil and criminal *Locard's principle: any two objects that interact with each other leave traces or an imprint upon the other -This is the basis of forensic anthropology F.A-Studies skeletal material that falls within jurisdiction of law enforcement and similar agencies; includes the following: - Skeletonized or decomposed remains - Burned or cremated - Heavily fractured or dismembered (deliberately cut apart) - Mass fatalities (mass gravesites) and human rights Key questions to ask: 1. Who was the person? 2. What events surrounded this person's death? 3. When did he/she die? Main objectives:  Create biological profile (ie age, sex, ancestry, stature, etc)  Recognize identifying features/characteristics  Identify traumatic events  Establish time since death (postmortem interval)  Aid in location/recovery of remains  **Forensic anthropologists Do NOT determine the cause of death  That job falls to medical examiner  However, FAs can testify as to how damage was potentially inflicted on a body. Lecture 2- The history of forensic anthropology The US based approach: Divided into four periods: -formative (1849-1938) -Consolidation (1939-71) -Modern 1972-1999 -New millennium 2000present Started with Paul Revere- silversmith made dentures for Dr. Joseph Warren Warren killed at Battle of Bunker hill, buried in unmarked grave with others Warren's remains ID'd by Revere using the silver dentures he made for Warren Formative period -not a formalized discipline, not even really a term -Parkman Murder 1849 Victim was Dr George Parkman, member of one of Boston's richest families Suspect was Dr John Webster- invited parker to lab on pretense of 2000 dollar debt Webster owed. Parkman unhappy with Webster so not on best terms; Parkman goes with intent to recover money. Offered a mineral cabinet as something to alleviate debt -Dismembered body, burned head and some other parts, used acid/copper nitrate to get rid of blood, left some parts of body in the lab Skeletal analysts- anatomists Oliver Wendell Holmes and Jeffries Wyman Littlefield was janitor, noticed behavior out of the ordinary, noticed suspicious activity- police eventually recover remains -Determined the age, height and ancestry of the remains; found consistent with Parkman's details Parkman's dentures were ID'd by his dentist **First time that skeletal ID was used in a murder trial Origin of species- Darwin Forensic anthro. Applies the theory of evolution Published in 1859- leads to increased interest in human evolution and increased interest in human skeletal research in order to track change over time -study the range of variation and diversity (within formative period) Leutgert case 1897 Sausage factory owner accused of killing his wife (Adolf Leutgart kills Louisa) and dumping her in a vat of potash (acts as acid) Journalists speculated that he ground up wife and put her in sausages (made it a higher profile case than it was) Found four small pieces of bone and a ring upon police investigation Anthropologist George Dorsey testified the bones were human- called in has skeletal expert **guilty verdict directly tied to science expert testimony Thomas Dwight (1843-1911) Father of forensic anthropology Anatomist at Harvard Professor after Holmes and Wyman retired Credited as being the first to write about/lecture forensic analysis of human remains in a legal context- acknowledged legitimacy in an academic setting -ID of the human skeleton a medicolegal study 1878 -Shattuck lecture 1894 -Determining age, from joints in the skull, emphasized human diversity, sternum used for size/stature/sex Ales Hrdlicka 1869-1943 Curator of physical anthropology section of Smithsonian institution Conducted research on anthropometry (measure of humans ie tissue thickness, head lengths), and osteometry and population variation Ernest Hooton 1887-1954 -Developed Harvard list of nonmetric traits useful for ancestry determination Academic ancestor of current forensic anthropologists -Lots of racial undertones; some things he said are no longer used, or adapted differently Skeletal collections -Began at start of 20th C Different anatomists try to consolidate large skeletal collection; instead of traveling across countries they can examine many varieties from one location Hamann-Todd collection (Cleveland museum of natural history) and Terry collection (Smithsonian) Known collections- know age on death, height, weight, personal details etc. Procured from medical schools cadaver labs -Collections have biases- over representative of some, under represent others Mostly people of low socioeconomic status- bad nutrition and healthcare/sanitation can cause damage or deficits in bones that aren’t representative of the rest of the general population Do not reflect secular trends because of their age (eg doesn’t account for people getting taller over time) More older individuals than young; juveniles rarely donated for research Consolidation prd 1839-1971 -Combining foundational work to form a disciplined science Wilton Krogman  Wrote "A guide to identification of human skeletal material 1939" annd the human skeleton in forensic medicine 1962; first book devoted to studying human bones in forensic context  Involved in many high profile cases  Age for mummified remains of pharaoh Ramses III Central identification Laboratory (CILHI) Established to help ID remains of soldiers killed in WWII Hickam air force base Honolulu Hawaii Mission to ID remains of American servicemen killed in past conflicts Many official forensic reference data comes from CILHI -DPAA mandate to id remains McKern and Stewart's report on aging in young American males Trodders work on stature Modern period 1972-1999 Physical anthropology section of American academy of forensic sciences AAFS 1972 Physical anthropology section established  Allows promotion of new ideas collaboration dissemination research as well as general forum  1977 creation of American board of forensic anthropology (ABFA) the certifying body of physical section; sets professional standards Kirley foundation elected in honor of founder Forensic research center of University of Tennessee 1980 Under Dr William Bass anthropological research facility "Body farm" which was first decomposition facility in the US  Used donated bodies and some pigs to study 1986: creation of forensic data bank; used to create FORDISC a computer program -Regional research required since bodies decompose differently in different climates C.A pound Human identification Laboratory Modern skeletal collections -William Bass donated skeletal collection  1981 UT Knoxville  Known individuals from the body farm -Maxwell museum's documented skeletal collection  1984 U of new Mexico, known individual Fourth Era 2000-present -Broadening of research goals and creation of new techniques Increased interdisciplinary work International collaboration More archaeological methods and cultural anthropology involved More focus on graduate education Increasing opportunity in non-academic venues Push for certification and accreditation of individuals and laboratories- meeting levels of science required and setting standards Lecture 3- The medicolegal system Investigations of death fall under the medicolegal system Death dealt with in a variety of different ways depending on customs of each society Many cultures have experts whose job it is to understand how/why death happened US has medicolegal investigators trained to determine cause of death (why), and are able to provide a legal opinion about manner of death (how) Medicolegal- the application of medical science to the law Bones=body -bones are the remains of an individual -they must be treated the same way as a fleshed body or full corpse- applies to both local law and respect given Two types of death- attended deaths and unattended death Attended deaths= attended by a physician; physician is aware of the cause of death and has adequate medical history Typically happens in hospitals, death is expected or anticipated No sign or suspicion of foul play, but family members can request an autopsy (in cases of malpractice, or wanting to check for any genetic defects. Recall that spontaneous abortions of fetuses always have autopsies conducted) What happens when someone dies?  Attended death occurs  Attending physician signs a death certificate  Funeral homes notified and body removed o Embalmed for later date (dependent on funeral home and family wishes) o Buried o Cremated o Body donation o Shot into space o Cryogenically frozen o Mummification Unattended death- when death is unexpected, result of traumatic injury, or decedent had no physician on hand to determine cause of death What happens after death?  Unattended death occurs (suddenly, unexpectedly or violently)  Not always foul play (like in cases of suicide or accidents)  No death certificate  ME or coroner called into investigate o MEs are physicians who are forensic pathologists (residency in anatomy and forensic pathology) o Coroners are elected officials who may be lay persons(non- medical expert)  Coroner system- been around in America longer adopted from England  Does not require an MD  Determine a case's jurisdiction and whether an autopsy is necessary  Usually used in parishes or countries with limited resources, low caseloads, and/or small numbers of pathologists  Each county sets their own qualification requirements  If they don’t have an MD, call in an ME to do autopsy* o ME system-  Appointed or hired (appointments made by governor)  Specialize in forensic work  Often review medical histories, witness statements and scene of death  Conduct autopsies  Determine decedent's ID, and time, cause and manner of death Autopsy procedures: Greek word- to see for oneself Careful dissection and examination of decedent’s organs and tissues Note important observations and negative findings (anything that can contradict initial theory about cause of death) Preserve some tissues for future analyses -cases often have two ME's, defense hired to provide additional, sometimes opposing opinion General autopsy outline  Full external examination  Radiographs (x-rays of delicate tissue to indicate trauma)  Open thoracic and pelvic cavities and the brain case  Remove, weigh and section all organs and preserve tissue for history  Draw blood and fluids for other testing Types of autopsies  Clinical: o Done in hospital deaths typically o Can be requested by family members (doctors can’t decide to do it) o may be done for research o Conducted by clinical pathologist (someone operating within the hospital)  Forensic o Unnatural death o For medico-legal purposes o Usually done by ME *however, in cases of suspicious deaths, ME can take jurisdiction over the body and have an autopsy happen without the consent of family members. Reasons to conduct autopsies: 1 Cause and manner of death 2 Time of death- some instances where timing of death is important especially to confirm/deny alibis of suspects 3 Identify, collect and preserve evidence 4 Provide factual information to law enforcement, prosecutors and defense counsels, families 5 Protect the innocent and prosecute the guilty Cause and manner of death Cause= anatomical diagnosis (WHY) of the precise mechanism of death Any number of things as determined by pathologist or ME Eg. Gunshot wound to the head, cerebral hemorrhage causing brainstem herniation, drug overdose Manner= HOW the death happened Five types: 1 Natural causes (diseases, etc.) 2 Suicide 3 Homicide 4 Accident 5 Indeterminate E.g. accidents, homicides, suicide or natural causes/disaster *Cause explains medical reason, manner is a classification of death Case study- man shot in chest during robbery, organs repaired and sent home Months later develops pneumonia, liver failure, heart failure and death- dies later -manner of death is homicide, cause is gunshot wound -pneumonia likely result of GSW; injury preferred over disease Collaboration  Work with CSI's, other forensic specialists, homicide investigators, state attorneys, prosecutors and defense counsel  Provide extra information useful in analysis  ME's, forensic anthropologists, forensic etymologists, botanists, odontologists, engineer, toxicologists, forensic nurse Forensic anthropologists and medicolegal community  Consultants  Aid in identification and analysis of badly decomposed, skeletonized or heavily burned remains Trials and the ME  Do not work for the defense or prosecution  Report findings as truthfully and truthfully as possible  ME testimony can be used to either exonerate or condemn a defendant Lecture 4- The field recovery of human remains Search and recovery  Forensic analysts may be called out to search for a missing person  Called to examine and exhume (dig up) a body that’s already been found 10 points concerning human remains scenes 1 Remains are usually found by accident (scavengers dig up shallow graves, people die in woods, dogs bring back bones) 2 Old scene can still be recovered (every scene treated like a fresh scene for evidence recovery) 3 Recovery is difficult (not all body parts have to be at the same place, or even present) 4 Case is already "cold" (nobody caught red handed; arrival on scene after time has passed) 5 Law enforcement not usually trained in scene recovery/evidentiary handling/osteology 6 Scene is always larger than it appears 7 Goal is always 100% recovery 8 Archaeological techniques should be used (forensic archaeology) 9 Contextual clues are important 10 Recovery is destructive- scene is always permanently altered (start with noninvasive techniques, document and map everything for evidence) Goals of search and recovery  Find the location of remains using least invasive techniques (like satellite technology to discover location before examining)  Secure the scene (law enforcement) so that evidence remains untainted and in pristine condition  Recording where the remains were found  Record relationships between various elements of the scene (critical to discovery; e.g. people with hypothermia strip off layers b.c. mind thinks overheated)  Map site so crime scene can be reconstructed later (two types of maps needed!)  Properly remove all biological evidence and hazardous material from the scene Jurisdiction -Medical Examiner controls the body Law enforcement controls the scene itself Forensic anthropologists don’t have jurisdiction to possess a body or scene The scene  Location where the body is found  Body= corpus delecti or primary evidence of a crime  Must be handled in a way that preserves the most evidence (e.g. wear protective clothing, exclusionary printing of scene analysts and law enforcement)  Can be enclosed or open scene o Enclosed scene- any scene where body is confined to a known area (houses, railroad cars, dumpsters, trunk of a car, etc) o Open scene- no natural marker for where evidence ends; unbound area. Includes remains left on or in the ground/ water recoveries; remains may be dismembered or scattered.  Indications of human remains o Clandestine graves- go out in the woods and bury a body o Surface depressions or mounds- not sufficient room for all dirt to return after body placed in o Soil color changes (change in available chemicals once body decomposes) o Vegetation (increased veg. bc bodies are full of nitrogen) o Scavenging o Evidence  Initial stages of a search: o Select a location- law enforcement must have a reason to search the area (otherwise unlawful search/seizure) o Formulate a search plan to address particular challenges of the scene (terrain, location etc)  Non-invasive search methods: o Methods that are not destructive to the scene o E.g. satellite and aerial imaging, remote sensing, line/grid searches, cadaver dogs  Search pattern: o Used when walking the site o Line search (standing in line, looking down, walk forward, stick flag where evidence is found o Grid search (perpendicular search pattern) o Circular search (used underwater)  Remote sensing noninvasive techniques o Ground penetrating radar (radio waves note anomalies in the ground) o Magnetometry (locating differences in magnetic fields; usually used to search for murder weapons or metallic accessories on clothes) o Infrared photography o Cadaver dogs  Invasive search methods (irreversibly alter the crime scene) o Soil probes, test pits, trenches o Can potentially damage evidence  When you find remains o Flag remains in situ (as it is, don’t remove) o Look for flag pattern o Photograph evidence in position o Record and map all positions  Mapping the remains o Set up a datum (fixed point unlikely to be obliterated) o Indicate datum on map o Establish grid around body and associated objects o Measure remains/objects on the grid and add them to the scene map  Excavating graves: o Conducted once datum and grid are established o Altering traditional archaeology methods o Try to remove dirt one layer at a time o Screen removed dirt to look for smaller overlooked evidence o Mindset is 100% recovery o Map, document and photograph everything (This includes mapping out where body parts are found!) General rules for removing skeletal remains:  Move or lift remains the shortest possible distance  Do not contaminate the scene while moving biological remains  Place remains in body bags, evidence bags, or a clean sheet in order to keep them away from prying eyes and unnecessary handling  The press are oftentimes nearby so it is important to ensure that the remains stay concealed  Place the hands (labeled left and right) in paper bags before moving the remains Taking custody of remains:  Medical examiners office takes initial custody  Release to human ID lab  Return to MEO *case study Dozier school for boys Ethics in forensic anthropology:  Forensic findings seriously impact the lives of others  Many determine the fate of someone's loved one  May condemn or exonerate individuals of a crime  Job of forensic anthropologist is to make sure they don’t obstruct justice while remembering their goal is to seek the truth  Respect: o You must treat human remains with respect o Especially important to be sensitive to the deceased’s family members  Confidentiality: o Case findings need to remain private until they are made public by the proper authorities o It’s not the anthropologist's job to talk to the press, the public, etc o Must resist the urge to discuss high profile or unusual cases  Honesty: o Must provide an accurate and honest assessment of findings regardless of personal feelings and outside pressures o Need to clarify between data and interpretation and clearly state probabilities o Resist biases from prosecution/defense (e.g. investigators may propose how they think deceased died, like weapon found near scene) o Do not misrepresent your level of expertise, education, training or experience- stay within the scope of your practice o Be honest about your limitations/ don’t lie about credentials L5- Processing human remains Processing: Two maps on scene- remains mapped and general scene map w/datum Taking custody of remains: 1 MEO takes initial custody of body 2 Body released to human identification lab 3 Body returned to ME Chain of custody- movement or location of physical evidence from the time its obtained until time for it to be presented in court Begins with the discovery of evidence Requires:  Knowing the exact location of evidence at all times  Maintenance at a secure location to avoid evidence tampering/damage  Restrict access to only authorized personnel  Log for any handling, transport, analysis or examination Evidence and lab access  Human remains stay inaccessible to the public (lack of respect given to deceased)  Forensic labs have monitors to detect who enters/exists  Clearance required to enter the lab  Active cases can be stored in a secure evidence room Forensic anthropology lab equipment:  Lab tables  Sinks  Fume hoods  Spreading/sliding calipers and osteometric board  Toothbrushes, scraping tools, scalpels, hemostats, sponges  Cleaning agents  X-ray machines, microscopes  Containers, cabinets  Hotplates, portable burners, freezers  Photo station Lab work/safety:  Immunizations required  Biohazard containers  Autoclaves  Cleaning products  Protective clothing: gloves, face masks, gowns, safety glasses  Eyewash stations and showers Maceration and preparing human remains  Adhering soft tissues can obscure important skeletal features  Maceration: the process by which soft tissue is removed from decomposing/mummified remains to yield a clean and dry skeleton for analysis o Remove the bulk of soft tissue o Disarticulate (make each bone free standing) sections of the body o Place remains in heated water to soften tissue o Lab personnel remove leftover tissue, degrease bones and dry on racks Dermestid beetles  Consume soft tissue including cartilage and tendons- will not eat outer layer of skin  Can strip flesh from a body in 10-14 days  Less invasive than other methods of tissue removal Skeletal inventory  Remains are laid out on lab tables in standard anatomical position (supine)  MnI- minimum number of individuals represented by set of remains  Note if there's extra bones present  Record whether each skeleton component is present or absent and how complete it is Photography and radiography  Standard views of cranium, skull and dentition  Pathology and trauma  Skeletal anomalies (not necessarily pathological defects) Analytical forms  Inventory  Taphonomy  Biological profile  Trauma  Personal identification Report writing: Quality assurance:  Write what you do  Do what you write  If its not documented, it didn’t happen Reading scientific literature (good science requires analysis)  Look at authors and institutions  Introductions  Methods  Results  Discussion  conclusion


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