Human Forensic Anatomy
How is the human body examined to determine possible forensic evidence?
An autopsy — also known as a post-mortem examination — is a medical proce-
dure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and man-
ner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present. It is usually per-
formed by a specialized medical doctor called a pathologist.
Autopsies are either performed for legal or medical purposes. For example, a
forensic autopsy is carried out when the cause of death may be a criminal matter, while a
clinical or academic autopsy is performed to find the medical cause of death and is used
in cases of unknown or uncertain death, or for research purposes.Autopsies can be fur-
ther classified into cases where external examination suffices, and those where the body
is dissected and internal examination is conducted.
▪ Students will be able to identify the methodology of an autopsy.
▪ Students will be able to perform a virtual autopsy.
The principal aim of an autopsy is to determine the cause of death, the state of health of
the person before he or she died, and whether any medical diagnosis and treatment before
death could have been performed.
Aforensic autopsy is used to determine the manner of death and in the United States law,
deaths are placed in one of five manners:
Natural Accident Homicide Suicide Undetermined
There are differences between manner of death, cause of death, and mecha-
nism of death
▪ Basic Human Anatomy
▯ Model 1 : Virtual Autopsy
▯ (1) Go to the following website and perform an autopsy.
▯ (2) Fill in the information from each section on the Data Table provided.
▯ Data Table
▯ 1. List the forensic evidence that might be found during the external exam on
the following parts of the body:
a. Chest – certain contusions (eg. hands)
b. Fingers – DNAunder nails (defense)
c. Shoulders – contusion, abrasions
d. Legs – contusions, abrasions
▯ e. Elbows – contusion, abrasions
2. What is the most common way to remove the organs? Describe:
• The Rokitansky Method, which is done by removing all internal organs in one
3. Which organs, once removed, are not weighed? Describe what is done in-
• The intestines and stomach are not weighed. Instead, the intestines are d