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Lecture 2

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Andrew Wade

Establishing Forensic Significance –Anthro 3FA3 Important to Determine Forensic Significance – Saves time and effort if not forensically significant – Reduces stress anxiety of families with missing relatives Is it animal or Human – Smithsonian: 10-15% of cases are animal – Bill Bass (U of Tennessee): 25-30% of cases are animal Animal vs. Human 1. Size and architecture Look at shape and angle of joint surfaces – articulate in different range of motion Structural differences between vertebrae of Cow and Human Vertebrae 2. Maturity: Looks at ends of bones (epiphyses*) If unfused = child What is an epiphysis? – Usually at ends of bones – Location where growth occurs Epiphyseal Union Animals that look the most like us... – Non-human primates – Most similar in infancy – Similarities decrease with age General considerations Animal bone is generally: – more dense – heavier for size – defined surfaces and edges – more angles and ridges Animal vertebra have more ridges, where as human vertebrae are smoother Cranium Human: – high vault, rounded forehead – fragments uniformly curved – foramen magnum at base of skull Animal: – fragments flat or sharply curved – foramen magnum at back of skull Ribs Human ribs: – curved – dorsal-ventral (front to back) flattening of thorax Animal ribs: – curved at angle only – rounded thorax Pelvis: Innominate: Animal: – narrow and long Human: . . . Bear paws vs Human hands – without claws most similar to human hands When are human remains NOT forensically significant? Archaeological – Except vandalism, looting, etc. – Determining nature of remains – forensic anthropologist, archaeologist Sources of evidence
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