Forensic Anthropology Notes Week 6
Forensic Anthropology Notes Week 6 Anth 310
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Popular in Intro to Forensic Anthropology
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Danielle Johnson on Thursday March 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anth 310 at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania taught by Dr. Barbian in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 47 views. For similar materials see Intro to Forensic Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
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Date Created: 03/03/16
Forensic Anthropology Week 6 2/29/2016 Remember ● Subadult bones have unfused epiphyses ○ Commonly mistaken for animal bones ○ Adult bones of small mammals are often mistaken for human infant bones ○ Epiphyses do not look human to the untrained eyes ○ Epiphyses do not look like things people assume to be bone, people do not often pick them up Human vs Animal Bone ● Thickness of compact bone in relation to total bone diameter ○ Human: ¼ thickness of total diameter ○ Mammal: ⅓ thickness ○ Bird: ⅛ thickness ● Cancellous bone/trabeculae is more dense in animal bone ○ The lattice work in animals is also denser Archaeological vs Recent Remains ● Buried Bodies ○ Position of body in ground ■ Fetal postion, bundle burial, ossuaries are usually archaeological ■ In extended burials, note position of hands and feet and any burial artifacts ○ In the a very general rule, most skeletons found during construction are archeological Archaeological vs Recent Remains ● Surface finds ○ Note location and parts present and missing ○ Note condition of bone ○ Do not pick the bone up ● Presence or absence of burial artifacts is important ○ Examples: rings, leather, coffin nails and other hardware, buttons, belt buckles, and clothing remains, medicalrelated artifacts ● Old bone contains little organic matter and shows breakdown of cortical/periosteal surface ● “Greasy” or “green” bone ○ Caused by migration of lipids (fats), water, etc coming out of the bone ○ Present in surface finds from months to approx 1 year ○ Present in buried bone up to 5 year ■ Depends on the soil ■ Not likely in PA because of acidic soils ○ Surfaceexposed bone can crack and become chalky in 25 years ○ Fine sand or dirt in unbroken long bone marrow spaces is sign of antiquity Forensic Anthropology Week 6 2/29/2016 ○ Small green stains on bone may indicate presence of copper/bronze pins from “winding sheet” used in colonial times or contact with copper ornaments ○ Examination of teeth may aid in determination ■ Look at condition of teeth ● The wear of the teeth ■ presence/absence and quality of fillings/restoration ■ High amount of wear indicative of native american remains ○ Not of Forensic Interest ■ Trophy skulls ■ Biological Supply specimens ■ Cadaver Specimens ■ Religionbased material (Santeria, Payo Mayambe) ■ Cemetery remains Crime Scene Investigation: Search, Recovery, and Documentation Location at Death ● Provides significant evidence ○ Cause of manner of death ○ Victim’s identity ○ Understanding of perimortem events Every Crime Scene is Different ● Clandestine graves ● Surface remains ● Mass death scenarios ○ Natural disasters ○ Mass disasters ■ A large number of deaths at any one times ● Natural disasters ● Mass suicides ● Terrorists attacks ● Fire scenes ● Water burial ● Dismemberment/deliberate alteration Anthropological Issues ● Is it bone/tissue? ● Is it human? ● MNI ○ Minimum number of individuals ○ When talking about fragmentary remains ○ Commingled fragmentary remains Forensic Anthropology Week 6 2/29/2016 ● Time since death ● Postmortem modification ● Have all remains been recovered? ● Who is it? ● Are remains of medicolegal significance? Medicolegal Significance ● Remains for which cause and manner of death are establish ○ Death certificate issued ● Once established responsibility for material is permanent Locating Human Remains Locating Remains ● Many methods ● Various types of equipment ● Most effective combination depends on particular circumstances of the case ○ Size of the are to be searched terrain to be covered ○ Time elapsed since death ○ Type of material (e.g. knife, handgun) associated with the body ○ Depth of the burial ○ Geology of the search area Visual Assessment ● Walking area and scanning round ○ Side by side search ○ Searcher’s field of vision overlap by 20% to 30% ■ Distance between searchers depends on terrain ○ If surface find, body may be scattered over a large area ■ Scavengers ■ Erosion ■ Gravity ● Body will move down the slope (specifically the head) ○ Really no reason not to do a visual assessment Visual Inspection (for a grave) ● Concave soil compaction ○ Area of looser soil ● Disturbed vegetation ● Any disturbed areas of soil ● Increased insect activity ● Odor of decomposition Forensic Anthropology Week 6 2/29/2016 Buried Remains ● Recent ○ Area over the burial pit may be bare ○ Vegetation near may be bent broken or trampled ● Year or more old ○ More vegetation over the pit ■ Looser soil ■ Nutrients from body ● Soil Compaction over the Grave ○ Dirt pulls away from the edge and cracks outline the perimeter ○ Primary depression ○ Second depression ■ Due to collapse of abdominal cavity Aerial Photography ● Disturbances (Imprints) can be seen in the soil ○ It takes thousands of years for the soil to fix itself ● Totally nondestructive ● Large areas ● Cons: have to a plane, special camera, the right season, expensive, and right landscape (no forest) Geological Analysis ● Soil is mixed in a grave (soil isn’t layered anymore) ● Low tech and inexpensive ● Relatively nondestructive as long as you do it right ○ Take a core sample from the edge of the suspicious area Botanical Analysis ● Looking for certain types of plants that grow in the disturbed soil (Pioneer plants) Entomology ● Finding of bugs in high quantities (something is decomposes) ○ At least a surface find ○ Maybe a shallow grave ● Provides you with time of death/ or when the body was placed in that environment ● Good for relatively fresh cases Ground Penetrating Radar ● Works over water too Other geophysics techniques ● Metal detector Forensic Anthropology Week 6 2/29/2016 ○ Have to assume metal is associated with the body ● Electromagnetics ● Magnetics ● Soil Gas Cadaver Dogs ● Dogs that are specially trained to detect the decomposition of humans (very different than any other type of decomposition) ● Advantages ○ Relatively nondestructive ○ Proven effective even after 170 years after burial ○ Effective over water ● Disadvantages ○ Requires little or no wind ○ Requires special equipment and knowledgeable operators ○ Most effective when air and ground are moist ○ Dog may be trained for other uses and not properly trained for this type of work; handler may overstate qualifications ●