The Role of the Forensic Anthropologist

Forensic Anthropologists are often called upon to contribute by opining on
the cause of death of skeletonised human remains. The same requires a sound
knowledge of trauma assessment.”The forensic anthropologist specializes
in hard tissue morphology, structure and variability.In those cases in
which soft tissue has been degraded by time, temperature, environment or
other external forces, the only tissue remaining more or less intact is
bone. The obvious person to call in to evaluate such material is the bone
specialist.Moreover, it should be not just your garden-variety
osteologist, but one who’s trained in the medico-legal context where it is
essential to be able to unerringly distinguish among ante-, peri- and post-
mortem defects, and where time since death is a significant factor” Stanley
Rhine, Bone Voyage: A Journey in Forensic Anthropology, 1974.
Though the success of creating a biological profile is largely dependent on
the preservation and/or condition of remains at the point of their
accession, analysis of the characteristics is undertaken by direct
comparison of remains with standard physical, or graphic, exemplars or by
the application of mathematical models developed from reference
populations. The construction of the biological profile is thus undertaken
in a set sequence which includes assessment of ancestry, sex, age, stature,
and individuating characters. Once the biological profile for an individual
is constructed, the Forensic Anthropologist submits their illustrated final
report to enable them to draw together all the lines of evidence that may
The success of creating a biological profile is largely dependent on the
preservation and/or condition of remains. Some environmental conditions
like acidic soil, humidity etc. are particularly detrimental to the
preservation of bones. Other factors like explosion and/or fire can result
in the forceful breakup of the …

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