Skeleton Analysis: Now that you have read about the role of a forensic anthropologist in analyzing skeletal remains, work with a team to analyze the bones from one of the unearthed skeletons. You will analyze features of bone to determine as much as you can about each person’s gender, ethnic origin, age and height.
Obtain a Student Data Sheet from your teacher. Write “Skeleton A, B, C or D” (depending on the one you were assigned) on the top of your data sheet in the box provided.
Stations: Rotate through the four bone identification stations for your skeleton and complete your analysis. Determine which bone you are analyzing and locate the appropriate data tables on your Student Data Sheet. NOTE: As you are only looking at four bones, you will not use all of the data tables displayed on the Student Data Sheet.
At each bone station, complete the following items. Along the way you will encounter many terms for bones or for markings on bones that you may not have heard before. Use the laminated photographs and your knowledge of directional terms to help decipher these clues and complete each step of the analysis.
Use the laminated Ward’s instruction card, laminated photographs, and tools at each station to complete the observations or measurements listed for that bone, and determine as much as you can about the person’s gender, race and age. NOTE: Not all bones will be used for all three categories.
Work with your group to come to consensus on each trait/measurement. Record your findings on the Student Data Sheet. NOTE: Forensic anthropologists look at multiple features to make an informed assessment. Think about this process as you evaluate the bones. Why do you think they don’t depend on one measurement?
For the following structures, find the bone or bone landmark on your Maniken®. With a pencil mark any new information both on your Maniken and your graphic organizer which began in Activity 1.2.1 and 1.2.2. Use the skeletal remains and the laminated photographs to find and identify each structure.
If you are waiting to view your next bone, take the measurements of the enlarged skull photos in order to determine the nasal index for the three ethnic groups. The procedure is outlined in the instruction card found at the skull. This information will be a useful comparison when determining ancestry from the skull.
Equations: When your group has made preliminary findings regarding the gender and ethnicity of the remains, use the equations listed in the data tables to estimate height.
To determine the probable height range of the individual, refer to the height tables and record the minimum and maximum value of the calculated heightranges (looking at both bones).Convert the minimum and maximum value to feet and inches and estimate the height range of this individual.
Meet with your entire team to discuss results and come to consensus on the characteristics of your assigned skeleton. You may need to go back to specific bones if groups disagree. Work together to form a conclusion about gender, height, ethnicity and age.
Case Report: With your group, prepare a formal case report of your findings. This typed report should be written using terminology that you understand and should include the following headings:
Introduction: Provide a brief case description. You need to make this exciting to read by adding additional fictional information about your case.
Summary of Findings: Provide evidence and support for your findings for each trait – 1) sex, 2) ethnic origin and 4) height. NOTE: You should not list every measurement/observation as evidence. Think about your analysis as a whole and describe how combined data led you to a conclusion. Discuss any inconsistencies in the data and address the limitations of these methods in determining identity.
Further Analysis: Read the FBI file on facial reconstruction at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/forensic-science-communications/fsc/jan2001/phillips.htm/. Another resource that can be helpful is http://anthropology.si.edu/writteninbone/facial_reconstruction.html. Discuss how this technique could be used in this case. Research. In addition, report on at least two other tests/types of analysis (not yet mentioned in the activity) that can be completed using the bone samples. What can we learn from these tests? How can this information be used to identify the missing?
Conclusion: Sum up the case findings and your recommendations for the next steps of the investigation in 1-2 paragraphs. You should include the most compelling data at this point.
Conclusion How did your findings compare to the rest of your team and to the actual data provided by your teacher? What could account for any variation?
Why do you think the pelvis is often the first bone forensic anthropologists look to in determining sex from skeletal remains?
3. What are clues a forensic anthropologist may be able to use to determine age of a person using only their bones?
What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative evidence? Explain how both types of measurements played a role in this activity.
In this activity, you were able to analyze skeletal remains in order to determine four particular traits of an individual. In a real life situation, scientists could provide a more detailed description of the individual based on additional information that can be acquired from the bones of this person. Describe at least two other pieces of information you could possibly learn from human remains. Make sure to provide a specific example for each piece of information.