Forensic Anthropology

Forensic Anthropology (FA) is a specialised field and is a subsection of Physical/Biological Anthropology.  Identification of human remains is the most important work area of FA.  A forensic anthropologist may employ a variety of methods to achieve identification based on unique biological traits.

One of the main tasks of forensic anthropologists is the analysis of human skeletal remains, although they may also assist in the examination of mutilated, decomposed, mummified and burned remains.  Complete skeleton, single bones as well as fragments are morphologically and osteometrically analysed to extract information for a possible identification.

 

The most important questions a forensic anthropologist has to answer are:

 

  1. Are the uncovered items bones? Natural and artificial materials may be confused with actual bones, e.g. stones, pieces of wood, diverse plastics, etc.  Fire and heat may change the properties of certain materials to mimic bone structure.
  2. Are the remains of forensic interest?
    1. Human or non-human?
    2. Modern or historical?
  3. How many individuals are present?
  4. Establishing a biological profile (to reduce the number of missing persons from the inquiry)
    1. Ancestry
    2. Biological Age
    3. Sex
    4. Stature
    5. Pathology/Trauma

Finding all the answers to these questions strongly depend on the completeness and condition of the remains.

 

Unfortunately, we can not offer internships and doctoral promotions in the field of forensic anthropology.

Contact

Dr. René Gapert, Forensic Anthropologist

eMail: rgapert(at)gmail.com