Bones Notes What Can We Learn?



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  • Second, people of mixed racial ancestry are common.

    • Often times, a skeleton exhibits characteristics of more than one racial group and does not fit neatly into the three-race model.

    • Also, the vast majority of the skeletal indicators used to determine race are non-metric traits which can be highly subjective.

    • Despite these drawbacks, race determination is viewed as a critical part of the overall identification of an individual's remains.


    Features of the Skull Used in Race Determination

    • __________ __________: The ratio of the width to the height of the nose, multiplied by 100

    • ___________ ________________

    • Feel the base of the nasal cavity, on either side of the nasal spine – do you feel sharp ridges (nasal silling), rounded ridges, or no ridges at all (nasal guttering)?

    • _________________: extended lower jaw

    • _____________ of ______________ ______________ (round or squareish


    3. Determination of Age

    • The long bones are those that grow primarily by elongation at an ______________ at one end of the growing bone. The long bones include the _____________, ______________, and ______________ of the legs, the ____________, _____________, and _______________ of the arms, and the ______________ of the fingers and toes.

    • As a child grows the epiphyses become ________________ (turn to hard bone)


    3. Determination of Age from Bones

    • Baby teeth are lost and adult teeth erupt in predictable patterns

    • epiphyseal fusion varies with sex and is typically complete by age 25

    • Ages 25-40: very hard

    • Ages 40+: basically ___________ and ____________ on bones

    • Can also use _______________ of bones such as those found in the ________________




    • By about age ___________, the suture at the back of the skull will have closed.

    • By about age ___________, the suture running across the top of the skull, back to front, will have closed.

    • By about age _______________, the suture running side to side over the top of the skull, near the front, will have closed.

    • During life, many of the ___________ bones a person has at birth grow together, finally forming ________ bones.

    • As the cartilage between them is replaced, an epiphysis line is visible.

    • When the cartilage is fully replaced, the line is no longer visible.

    • This information can be used to approximate a skeleton’s age.


    Epiphyseal Fusion

    • The lines in the illustrated Image 1 show the lines or layers of cartilage between the bone and the epiphyses. The lines are very clear on the bone when a person, either male or female is not out of puberty.

    • In Image 2, you see no visible lines. This person is out of puberty. The epiphyses have fully joined when a person reaches adulthood, closing off the ability to grow taller or in the case of the arms, to grow longer.


    2. Age Determination: Use of Teeth

    3. Determination of Stature


    How To Find the Height Using Bones

    4. Other Information We Can Get From Bones:

    • Evidence of trauma (here GSW to the head)
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