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Introducing Forensic Anthropology to Ireland: A Case Report on Discovered Skeletal Remains in Kildare

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... Si estuviera incapacitado para hacer tal determinación, la autoridad pertinente debe solicitar los servicios de un antropólogo forense para asistir en esa valoración [5][6][7] . Para Last y colaboradores, los cuatro factores que permiten inferir el valor médico legal son: a) las modificaciones corporales b) las pertenencias personales c) las condiciones del enterramiento d) el estado de preservación, este último deducible por el color, textura, hidratación, peso, condición, fragilidad y restos de tejidos blandos en el material óseo 7 . ...
... Si estuviera incapacitado para hacer tal determinación, la autoridad pertinente debe solicitar los servicios de un antropólogo forense para asistir en esa valoración [5][6][7] . Para Last y colaboradores, los cuatro factores que permiten inferir el valor médico legal son: a) las modificaciones corporales b) las pertenencias personales c) las condiciones del enterramiento d) el estado de preservación, este último deducible por el color, textura, hidratación, peso, condición, fragilidad y restos de tejidos blandos en el material óseo 7 . ...
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El descubrimiento de un cadáver requiere de significativos esfuerzos para identificarlo si no hay información antemortemy los restos son hallados tiempo después de fallecido. Los hallazgos en fosas comunes, típicas de guerras, genocidios o violaciones de derechos humanos suponen un problema aún mayor: las osamentas pueden no pertenecer en sus datas de muerte al momento analizado por las pericias. Un análisis minucioso y reconstructivo proveerá valiosos datos de variabilidad biológica a la investigación. En odontología forense, las restauraciones dentales pueden ofrecer información social, cultural, cronológica y geográfica del fallecido. Dado que uno de los primeros pasos en la investigación es determinar si esos restos poseen significación forense, se presenta una revisión exhaustiva, crítica y se propone al análisis químico de la aleación de la amalgama dental como una herramienta útil para diferenciar estos restos de otros hallazgos arqueológicos o fuera del contexto histórico al proceso y escenario analizados. Palabras clave: Odontología forense, identificación, amalgama dental.
... In most cases the experts are called by the Police (Garda Siochana) to identify human from non-human skeletal remains. Once skeletal remains are identified as human, the Coroner decides who will undertake the case (Last et al., 2005) and usually assigns it to the State Pathologists. When skeletal remains are involved the State Pathologist's Office calls on a freelance osteoarchaeologist with many years of experience working for commercial archaeological companies to assist in the examination. ...
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Forensic anthropology is the discipline that traditionally deals with the examination of human remains for legal purposes and it derives from the fields of anatomy, physical anthropology and forensic medicine. For more than a century, forensic anthropologists in the United States have been offering their services in the court of law complementing the medico-legal investigation of other forensic professionals. The current status in European countries is presented here. The development of forensic anthropology varies significantly among the countries of Europe. Whereas some countries show a long history of research activity in the forensic sciences, including forensic anthropology (i.e. France, Germany and Spain), others are exhibiting a recent, rapid development (i.e. United Kingdom). In some cases, forensic anthropologists are employed within the academic realm (i.e. U.K., Denmark, Portugal, Turkey), forensic institutions (Netherlands) or government organizations (Spain, Hungary), although the vast majority of them remain limited to freelance activities on a sporadic basis. Often, European scientists that deal with skeletal remains come from nonphysical anthropology disciplines such as archaeology, forensic medicine and biology. In many cases they do not have adequate training equivalent to the forensic anthropologists in the USA. Naturally, without common training and a common legal system, an accreditation system for Europe will be difficult to implement.
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To present individual body identification efforts, as part of the World Trade Center (WTC) mass disaster identification project. More than 500 samples were tested by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and short tandem repeat (STR) typing. The extent to which the remains were fragmented and affected by taphonomic factors complicated the identification project. Anthropologists reviewed 19,000 samples, and detected inconsistencies in 69, which were further split into 239 new cases and re-sampled by DNA specialists. The severity and nature of the disaster required an interdisciplinary effort. DNA profiling of 500 samples was successful in 75% of the cases. All discrepancies, which occurred between bone and tissue samples taken from the same body part, were resolved by re-sampling and re-testing of preferably bone tissue. Anthropologists detected inconsistencies in 69 cases, which were then split into 239 new cases. Out of 125 "split" cases, 65 were excluded from their original case. Of these 65 cases, 37 did not match any profiles in M-FISys, probably because profiles were incomplete or no exemplar for the victim was available. Out of the 60 remains not excluded from their original case, 30 were partial profiles and did not reach the statistical requirement to match their original case, because the population frequency of the DNA profile had to be </=1 in 10(9) for men and </=1 in 10(8) for women. Due to transfer of soft tissue and other commingling of remains, DNA testing alone would have led to problems if only soft tissue would have been tested. This was one of the reasons that forensic anthropologists were needed to evaluate the consistency between all linked body parts. Especially in disasters with a high potential for commingling, the described anthropological review process should be part of the investigation.
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Stature-estimation formulae in common use are those of Trotter and Gleser. Their formulae for females are based on Terry collection skeletons. These skeletons are from people who died in the early 1990s. Because there has been considerable change in body size since then, it is possible that the Trotter and Gleser formulae are inappropriate for modern forensic-science application. The Trotter and Gleser female formulae are tested using data from the Forensic Data Bank at the University of Tennessee. For whites, the femur and tibia yield stature estimates differing from one another by about 3 cm. Using femur and tibia lengths from modern forensic cases and modern height data from anthropometric surveys, new regression intercepts are calculated for Trotter and Gleser's female formulae. The new intercepts improve the performance of the formulae on modern individuals. The Trotter and Gleser formulae for black females require no adjustment. Both blacks and whites have experienced a secular increase in bone length, but whites have experienced a change in proportions as well.
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This paper argues that forensic anthropology is more than just physical anthropology, but should incorporate several subdisciplinary perspectives into a framework of mortuary anthropology. The advantage of this holistic approach is to provide context for the primary roles of physical anthropologists; identification of victims, and assessing manner of death. Mortuary anthropology provides information on processes of disposal and site formation, including the regularity, sequencing, and timing of events, which is complementary to the traditional roles of physical anthropologists. A call is made for more widespread application of this perspective.
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The determination of age at death is an important part of physical and forensic anthropology. Techniques now in use vary from direct observation of a bone to microscopic examination of a given segment. This study introduces the sternal end of the rib as a new site for age estimation by direct observation. The sample consisted of 118 white male ribs of verified age, sex, and race. The ribs were assigned to one of nine phases (0 through 8) based on changes noted at the costochondral junction. These included the formation of a pit, its depth and shape, configuration of the walls and rim surrounding it, and the overall texture and quality of the bone. Statistical analysis indicated that these changes were age related. It was further revealed that metamorphosis was most rapid and uniform from the mean age of 17 to 28 years (Phases 1 through 4). The rib morphology was more varied after age 39 (Phase 5) resulting in a wider range for the predicted age. Our study concluded that the sternal rib end may yield a similar degree of accuracy to the pubic symphysis and perhaps better than that for cranial sutural closure. Our technique also enables the forensic scientist to use the rib for corroboration with age estimations obtained by traditional methods.
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Prior to the mid-1980's, human rights abuses were documented almost entirely through witness and victim testimony. In 1984-85, forensic scientists from the United States, working under the auspices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, exhumed skeletal remains of disappeared persons in Argentina. They provided physical evidence for the trial of members of the deposed military junta and trained an Argentine forensic anthropology team. It became apparent that medical and forensic verification of torture and extrajudicial executions could provide irrefutable evidence that such activities had, in fact, taken place. Requests for assistance came from human rights groups throughout the world, and led to the development of an international protocol for the investigation of government sponsored murders. The United States based Physicians for Human Rights has now conducted missions to nearly 30 countries. The recent documentation of mass graves in El Salvador, Guatemala, Iraqi Kurdistan and the former Yugoslavia demonstrates how forensic scientists expose such crimes to international scrutiny, and the necessity of scientific evidence when confronting human rights violations.
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Before World War II, forensic anthropology was of peripheral interest to a few anthropologists willing to assist in investigations by law enforcement agencies. A strong bias that "police work" was unbecoming to the scholarly pursuits of academics persisted into the post-war years. Changes took place as a consequence of T. Dale Stewart's case work in the identification of human remains with the FBI from 1943 to 1969, his directorship of the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) beginning in 1962, and his work with the Armed Forces after 1948. This paper discusses the historic period of transition of attitudes and practices in the contexts of Stewart's contributions and the cases and teaching programs of one of his contemporaries. Theodore D. McCown at the University of California at Berkeley, during the period of 1939 to 1969. The establishment of the Physical Anthropology Section within the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in 1972 and the creation of the T. Dale Stewart award for distinguished service in forensic anthropology advanced those laboratory research programs and medical-legal investigations conducted by present-day forensic anthropologists.