Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Define Forensic Anthropologist ?

A forensic anthropologist can help recover and examine human remains in a fast and efficient manner. They specialise in human osteology and their expertise lies in analysing human skeletal and dental remains for estimating age, gender, race and stature (Shultz and Dupras, 2008; Hunter and Cox, 2005; Pickering and Bachman, 1997; Dix and Graham, 2000).

They are experts in dealing with skeletonised remains and will use their expertise to build a biological profile of a skeleton. The presence of a forensic anthropologist at a crime scene is important in order to be able to make contextual observations and identify skeletal elements.

An in depth laboratory investigation should ensue once the remains have been collected and the anthropologist will assess any ante-mortem trauma and pathologies for identification purpose. They will evaluate any peri-mortem trauma (such as firearm wounding) directly relating to the incident and supporting an indictment of the assailant. Most post-mortem damage caused by feral animals can be easily identified by the consultant anthropologist (Hunter and Cox, 2005; Dix and Graham, 2000).

The forensic anthropologist will work closely with a forensic pathologist who will need to be involved if tissue is present on the body (Hunter and Cox, 2005). The pathologist’s main role is during the post-mortem examination in order to ascertain the manner of death. They will likely work alongside the anthropologist in this case and overall jurisdiction over the body resides with the coroner.

If the skull is present then a forensic anthropologist may be able to reconstruct facial characteristics (Dix and Graham, 2000). They will be able to collaborate with the forensic archaeologist and dog teams by designing search strategies, analyse the distribution pattern of remains and identify any findings (Sorg et al, 2000).

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