Basically, forensic anthropology is the discipline that is focused on investigating human corpses, especially the remains of a human skeletal system. One of the main goals of forensic anthropology, and perhaps the most important, is to aid law enforcement organizations in identifying anonymous and undistinguished cadavers. To better appreciate the concept of forensic anthropology, let us take a quick look at the field of Anthropology and dig in into its fields of study. Anthropology is the scientific study of the origin and behavior of man, including the development of societies and cultures.
From the definition alone, we can deduce that the work of Anthropologists revolves around the areas of culture, language, the physical remnants or relics based on human settlements and communities, and most importantly, the human remains themselves. With respect to forensic anthropology, the most relevant field is the study of the human remains. This is the domain of physical anthropologists. Generations of physical anthropologists have learned practices and techniques that help them investigate and examine human bone remains and explore into the past lives of the people who used to live within these skeletal systems.
Bone remains provide the physical anthropologists knowledge and descriptions of the owner of the bones; knowledge such as the physical appearance of the person including height, age, gender, and perhaps even the general health condition of the person. The beauty of forensic anthropology is that it brings to the modern scenario, these principles and techniques, and utilizes them to solve legal cases that involve a person’s remains.
Out of the application of recognized and solid methods, forensic anthropologists are able to be an integral part of lawsuits and play major roles in the investigations because of their ability to provide profiles of important case personalities (by which we mean those who were slain or simply died). In addition to the knowledge about the physical appearance described earlier, a forensic anthropologist is also capable of realizing the ethnicity of the person, the time of death and also importantly, the trauma or strain evaluation of the bones, especially those in critical parts of the body involved in the crime.
Although forensic anthropologists are normally depicted in TV shows as scene of the crime technicians or forensic scientists, these descriptions are on the other hand inaccurate. This is because in reality, forensic anthropologists focus their work more precisely on human remains. Most commonly, we find forensic anthropologists that concentrate in human bone analysis methods alone. For us to have a better picture of a forensic anthropologist’s occupation, let us consider what actually are outside their job description.
Common perception might lead us to think that forensic anthropologists are those people responsible for collecting crime evidences such as clothing and hair, which is a complete misunderstanding and offensive to them. Neither do they carry out the analysis of blood splatter and conduct the autopsies. Forensic anthropologists are not the people to seek for a DNA test as well. To sum this up, let us take a look, more importantly at what forensic anthropologists do. Forensic anthropologists provide assistance with the gathering of the actual human remains. They are also responsible for the cleansing of the bone remains that would be analyzed.
They also coordinate with forensic odontologists or those who study the dental profile of the individual. Lastly and perhaps more significantly are their contributions to the actual analysis of the bones, for the establishment of the person’s profile, their investigation of the strain or trauma in the bones caused by an external projectile or weapon and finally their testimonies in court. Reference: Forensic Anthropology Center, The University of Tennessee. What Is Forensic Anthropology. Retrieved November 24, 2008, from http://web. utk. edu/~anthrop/FACwhatis. html