Forensic Anthropology

Forensic Anthropology is the study of humans in the forensic context. Forensic anthropologists work closely with Coroners and Medical Examiners to determine the medicolegal status of remains, construct a biological profile of decedents (the age, sex, ancestry, and height), conduct analysis of skeletal trauma, postmortem interval, assist forensic artists with facial approximation, prepare and sample skeletal remains for a variety of chemical and molecular tests (and conduct many of these tests!), and assist in a variety of other ways in the analysis of human remains. Techniques used to derive opinions/conclusions given in forensic anthropology have their roots in studies of anatomy, physical anthropology, and skeletal biology, some of which are centuries old. Publications, analysis, and testimony in forensic anthropology are nearly 150 years old.

Formal recognition of the field came somewhat later with the formation of the Physical Anthropology section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in 1972. Opinions and conclusions given in court within this discipline are based on published research, research that is ongoing and involves a large number of kinds of determinations and interpretations. New techniques are considered sufficient to meet Daubert guidelines when their repeatability and accuracy have been tested.

Relevant links (the forensic anthropology subcommittee does not endorse any of these sites, nor is the subcommittee responsible for any of their content):