Dignity and Respect
We study the dead to protect the living.
- to learn and protect the dignity of the dead and to respect the feelings of the living
Forensic Investigators who process a crime scene and collect fingerprints , scan bones
**Canada has no criminalists but the US does.
Canada has a Coroner / Medical examiner- looks at who, where, when and how and look at and
are in charge of the custody of the body
The Scope of Forensic Anthropology
- they use anthropological techniques and knowledge used in a legal context
TAPHONY - The study of the processes of the body from the time the body has been found
3 types of hazards in the Lab:
1. Bio hazards // airborne, skin contact or ingestion via body fluids, water, soil
Diseases from the body ~ HIV, TB, ecoli
2.Chemical // oil products, pesticides, asbestos
3. Physical ~ sun stroke, poison ivy, heavy machinery, debris or nails in boards
REMEMBER - the police help to search and recover
And the Coroner or Medical examiner requests pathologists
how does a forensic anthropologist use critical thinking? Provide an example from the readings
or the lecture.
• helps analyze a death accident
• analyze the burial or deposition incident i.e – how much work did the person who killed
someone put into the killing to begin with? This adds up to intent and allows F.As to
figure out if the murder was intentional or not.
• To evaluate bone damage
• To establish the mode and manner of a death ---
*Crime scenes are classified as Primary Scenees or Secondary Scenes
Primary Scene – where the FIRST and INITIAL criminal act occurred
Secondary Scene – where every crime after the first criminal act occurred
Knowing the type of Scene involves:
• predicting the involvement from the primary and secondary scene
• knowing the nature of the scene
• knowing and understanding the location of other scenes
First Responders – the first people on the scene of a crime
• Police, emergency medical or firefighters
• First Responders are the ONLY ones to view thecrime scene in its ORIGINAL condition
• First Responders have different responsibilities than Crime Scene Investigators. They
don’t want to DESTROY evidence but they have to save lives. Their first priority is to
ASSIST the victim. Their 2 priority is to search and apprehend a suspect. 3 is to secure
and protect the crime scene.
Yellow Tape refers to the outside perimeter of a crime scene, which is portioned off with
CAUTION TAPE, which keeps out lookers OUT! A security officer is always present to keep
non-essential people out, requiring anyone to sign in and out with a time and purpose of their
Orange Tape refers to the inner perimeter where the crime scene investigators actually work.
This borders off the crime scene. Support Personnel (Command Post) are between the Yellow
and Orange tape.
Conditional – dependent upon something else. Produced by an event or an action
Transitory – not permanent and purely temporary, easily lost or changed.
Chain of Custody
• a paper trail, and a formal tracking of the exhibit
• this has to be CLEAR in order to be admissible in COURT
• there must be NO plausibility of contamination or tampering
Evidence if collected in no set order but the most fragile is collected first and the most
destructive first One thing is done at a time. Everything is labeled and collected and documented individually.
• they are one tthat conduct presumptive tests
• it is their job to preserve and package evidence
Search Area – all the terrains TO BE searched
Burial Site – the grave itself along with localized disturbance
Grave – the pit used for burial
Search Indicators – all abnormalities used to detect a burial site
Body Dumpsite Traits include:
• Whether something is near a road or parking lot
• Downhill from a road
• Somewhere that is secluded and away from HOUSING
• Something accessible by flashlight or minimal light
• Take advantage of pre made features like a landfill site, well, bodies of water
3 ways to searching for Human Remains:
1. Remote Sensing
• via plane or satellite
• aerial photography
• thermal imaging
1. Geophysical Methods
• similar to an ultra sound where you bounce one wave down to the ground and an
image is produced
• ground penetrating radar or metal detector
2. Ground Search • this is the most common method
• it is an ORGANIZED examination
• everything is detailed and systematic
what is the procedure for when evidence is found?
- EVERYONE STOPS..the line stops
- Everyone maintains their positions
- You call an expert to assess your evidence
- Flag the evidence
- RESUME SEARCH
- We leave eviendence in positions for photographs and mapping
How to Map Scattered Remains?
1. Baseline Method – use measuring tape throughout the entire scene. Measure everything
from the right angle of the tape indicating how far something is & its direction.
2. Triangluation – when you have 2 fixed points of data whereby you record the distance of
the objects from each point. You take a compass pointing from the fixed point.
3. Total Station, Laser Transit, Transit
4. Set up a grid along the compasses direction
Remember that every scene is unique and provides us with a variety of challenges. There is
no fixed protocol to everything but judgment is involved. However everything is very
systematic in the approach because the end result must determine the context of a site and
this needs to be explained within legal context.
Animal VS Human Bone
- Consider the size of a bone and see if a bone is in normal range of an adult sized bone
- Child remains that are within normal ranges of a child bone, consider the epiphyses and
see if the ends of the bone are unfused.
- Animal bones that are most similar to humans are primates but that are most similar to
humans in infancy. But the similarity of primates to humans decrease with age
- animal bones are generally more dense and heavier for their size
- animal bones have well defined surfaces and edges.
- Animal bones will have more angles and ridges – what are 3 types of evidence that F.Anthropologists or Archaeologists use?
Answer: archaeological remains, human remains, animal remains?
What was and what was not there in the case of the SHOW AND TELL?
• THERE WAS NO SOIL EROSION
• There was no post mortem decoration that would indicate it was a trophy skull
• Decay and aging of the skull was present throughout the skull
Forensic Taphonomy - the study of events that occurred after a person has died. What
happens to a body upon death and discovery. We are looking at the Postmortem changes to the
• Disarticulation sequences - refer to the loss of tissue