Anthropology 1020E Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Neanderthal Genome Project, Forensic Anthropology, Paleodemography

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Specialist biological anthropologist initially analyses the relevant evidence
-term bio archaeology coined by Grahame Clark in the 1970s meant the study of animal bones but
now includes human remains from arch sites
-when possible human remains are encountered, forensic arch are called in
-biological profile established; consists of the age, sex, ancestry and stature; other factors might
also include time since death, state of health while alive, the cause of death, race and family
-biochemistry and forensics allowing much more work to be done but osteology the study of bones
is vital
-real hope of approaching once again the whole question of racial distinctions and how they may
correlate with ethnic groups
>The Variety of Human Remains
-first step to account for how many human remains present
-mummies not only preserved bodies; others became naturally desiccated, freeze-fried or
persevered in peat
-early Neolithic skeleton of a small child from Catalhoyuk, Turkey around 8500 years old wearing
ankle and hand bracelets (lrg numb of beads found at this site)
-fluorescence analysis can help to establish original hair colour
-Pompeii preserves from the casing of volcanic ash; Sutton Hoo acid sandy soil had left only
shadowy stain but with fluorescence bones light up and can be photographed
-amino acids and other organic decay can help identify sex and blood groups
Identifying Physical Attributes
-sex, age at death, build, appearance, relationships?
>Which Sex?
-intact bodes/artistic depictions: genitalia usually best indicator, or associated clothing or artifacts
-human skeletons/bone remains: without soft tissue harder to tell; best indicator is shape of the
pelvis; other bone sizes can also indicate sex
-children: cannot be sexed as well as adults; dental measurements have some success; DNA
analysis can also sometimes determine; feces
>How Long Did they Live?
-can only certainly organize by young, adult, old
-best indicators of age are the teeth (calcification, eruption and replacement of milk teeth
-bones also used to asses age: the sequence in which the articulating ends (epiphyses) of bones
become fused to the shafts gives a timescale that can be applied to the remains of young
people; fusion can also indicate age – degree of fusion of the sutures between the plates of the
skull can be indicator of age; skull thickness also plays role; ribs gets ragged with age; bone
micro-structure, young bones have rings, old bones don’t
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