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What role do anthropologists play in solving crimes?

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Sarah Center

on 14 January 2015

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Transcript of What role do anthropologists play in solving crimes?

What role do anthropologists play in solving crimes?

1. What does a physical anthropologist investigate?
2. What 4 things do we want to know about a skeleton?
3. What bones are most useful for developing a profile of a person? Explain how they are used.

Forensic Anthropology
Forensic Anthropologists
analyze skeletal remains to determine the identity of a victim as well as his/her life history, cause of death or other clues about a crime.
Main Characteristics
Sex: Determined by examining the skull, pelvis, humerus, and femur

Age and Stature: Determined by analyzing the development of the teeth, bone growth, cranial suture lines, and the length of specific bones, such as the femur.

Race – Determined by analyzing the skull for characteristics that are common among people of different races.

What else can we learn from bones?

DNA samples can be collected from bone, teeth, and hair to provide clues to a person’s identity.

Scientists may also be able to gain clues as to a person’s past, recent injuries, or the cause of death based on bone fractures and other signs of trauma.

Forensic Tools and Techniques
1. What techniques or tools did the scientists use to find the body?

2. What is “disturbed soil”? What might it indicate?

3. How did they narrow down the areas to investigate?

4. Did they find a body?

Reading the remains
1. What information do they provide for law enforcement agencies?
2. How many skeletons do they have in their collection?
3. What do they learn about a skeleton from each tool?
-CT Scan –
- X- ray –
-Mass spectrometer –
-Scanning electron microscope –
-DNA Analysis –

Quick Quiz – Give the common name for each bone.

I should have known it was going to be one of those days, when I had stepped out of bed and stubbed my (1) PHLANGE on the night stand. While hopping up and down on one (2) METATARSAL and grasping the other, I slipped and fell onto my right shoulder breaking my (3) CLAVICLE. As I crawled on my (4) METACARPALS and (5) PATELLAS to my bed, I felt my (6) CRANIUM begin to ache. I found my phone and let my (7) PHLANGES do the walking as I called my friend to come help me out. My friend answered the phone with a loud scream; my (8) MANDIBLE dropped, I asked what had happened, and he replied that he had been startled by the ringing phone, fell out of bed landed on his (9) COCCYX. Following that while racing to the phone he hit his (10) TIBIA on a stool. I should have known it was going to be one of those days.

1. Toes
2. foot
3. collar bone
4. hands
5. knees
6. skull or head
7. fingers
8. lower jaw
9. tail bone
10. shin
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