New Perspectives in Forensic Anthropology

Department of Applied Forensic Sciences, Mercyhurst College, Erie, PA 16546, USA.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology (Impact Factor: 2.38). 01/2008; Suppl 47(S47):33-52. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.20948
Source: PubMed


A critical review of the conceptual and practical evolution of forensic anthropology during the last two decades serves to identify two key external factors and four tightly inter-related internal methodological advances that have significantly affected the discipline. These key developments have not only altered the current practice of forensic anthropology, but also its goals, objectives, scope, and definition. The development of DNA analysis techniques served to undermine the classic role of forensic anthropology as a field almost exclusively focused on victim identification. The introduction of the Daubert criteria in the courtroom presentation of scientific testimony accompanied the development of new human comparative samples and tools for data analysis and sharing, resulting in a vastly enhanced role for quantitative methods in human skeletal analysis. Additionally, new questions asked of forensic anthropologists, beyond identity, required sound scientific bases and expanded the scope of the field. This environment favored the incipient development of the interrelated fields of forensic taphonomy, forensic archaeology, and forensic trauma analysis, fields concerned with the reconstruction of events surrounding death. Far from representing the mere addition of new methodological techniques, these disciplines (especially, forensic taphonomy) provide forensic anthropology with a new conceptual framework, which is broader, deeper, and more solidly entrenched in the natural sciences. It is argued that this new framework represents a true paradigm shift, as it modifies not only the way in which classic forensic anthropological questions are answered, but also the goals and tasks of forensic anthropologists, and their perception of what can be considered a legitimate question or problem to be answered within the field.


Available from: Luis Cabo
  • Source
    • " / W Unicode ( Apr 1 2008 ) ( APS_OT ) Dir : E : / TAFUK / 3B2 / KNUSEL - SMITH - 131047 / 130001 / APPFile / BK - TAFUK - KNUSEL - SMITH - 131047 - 130001 . 3d Results and discussion Before the presentation and discussion of the results , we will comment on some issues related to the study of peri - mortem trauma in the skeleton . As indicated by Dirkmaat et al . ( 2008 ) , the experienced forensic anthropologist , with a background either in physical anthropology or archaeology , is especially trained for the correct identification and description of signs of trauma in the skeleton , not only from the study of the remains , but also from the context in which the remains are found and from the interpre"

    The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict, Edited by Christopher Knüsel, Martin J Smith, 01/2014; Routledge.
  • Source
    • "The regional development of Anthropology with studies in different population groups is extremely important, especially in cases in which the population variations may cause problems in the identification of a native individual by the application of norms developed for different communities4,5,8,12. This occurs because the regional ethnic differences directly interfere with the phenotypic patterns of the population, determining inherent morphological characteristics for each group. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Validation studies of physical anthropology methods in the different population groups are extremely important, especially in cases in which the population variations may cause problems in the identification of a native individual by the application of norms developed for different communities. This study aimed to estimate the gender of skeletons by application of the method of Oliveira, et al. (1995), previously used in a population sample from Northeast Brazil. The accuracy of this method was assessed for a population from Southeast Brazil and validated by statistical tests. The method used two mandibular measurements, namely the bigonial distance and the mandibular ramus height. The sample was composed of 66 skulls and the method was applied by two examiners. The results were statistically analyzed by the paired t test, logistic discriminant analysis and logistic regression. The results demonstrated that the application of the method of Oliveira, et al. (1995) in this population achieved very different outcomes between genders, with 100% for females and only 11% for males, which may be explained by ethnic differences. However, statistical adjustment of measurement data for the population analyzed allowed accuracy of 76.47% for males and 78.13% for females, with the creation of a new discriminant formula. It was concluded that methods involving physical anthropology present high rate of accuracy for human identification, easy application, low cost and simplicity; however, the methodologies must be validated for the different populations due to differences in ethnic patterns, which are directly related to the phenotypic aspects. In this specific case, the method of Oliveira, et al. (1995) presented good accuracy and may be used for gender estimation in Brazil in two geographic regions, namely Northeast and Southeast; however, for other regions of the country (North, Central West and South), previous methodological adjustment is recommended as demonstrated in this study.
    Journal of applied oral science: revista FOB 08/2013; 21(4):358-62. DOI:10.1590/1678-775720130022 · 0.92 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Acute or Obtuse (86%) a Right (0 %) a [10] [15] [18] [19] "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to investigate the potential use of reconstructed three-dimensional multi-detector computed tomography (3D MDCT) imagery to distinguish between perimortem cranial trauma and postmortem cranial damage. A total of 45 crania were initially examined for the purpose of this study. The postmortem group consists of 14 crania from a Medieval Scottish population while the perimortem group consists of 31 CT scans of perimortem trauma cases from the University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete. Six crania belonging to the perimortem group could not be assessed for the purposes of this study. Each of the remaining 39 crania was examined under the following criteria: preponderant texture, preponderant outline, edge morphology, fracture angle, fracture relationship to path of least resistance, evidence of plastic response and the presence of hinging. As edge morphology could not be determined for any of the crania this criterion was not considered for statistical computations. Statistical analysis demonstrated the five of the six criteria (preponderant texture, preponderant outline, fracture relationship to least resistance path, plastic response and the presence of hinging) subjected to statistical analysis bore statistical significance in distinguishing between perimortem trauma and postmortem damage when using 3D CT images. This study, therefore, demonstrated that the timing of cranial fractures can be determined using 3D CT images and thus can complement and add to existing methods for trauma assessment in both forensic and archaeological settings.
    Forensic science international 04/2013; 229(1). DOI:10.1016/j.forsciint.2013.03.032 · 2.14 Impact Factor
Show more