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The Importance of Anthropology to Law Enforcement.

  • Date Submitted: 09/08/2011 06:13 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 40.4 
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Forensic Anthropology is an example of applied anthropology where anthropological methods and theories are utilized to solve contemporary human problems. The forensic anthropologist, a highly specialized physical anthropologist, is an expert in the analysis and identification of human remains. He or she very often also has training in crime scene investigation, toxicology and human anatomy
Using anthropological techniques, these professionals can determine with a great degree of accuracy, the ethnicity, sex, and cause of death based on an examination of skeletal remains. The forensic anthropologist can also determine the approximate time of death and the state of health at the time of death.
When law enforcement officials are faced with remains which are in such an advanced state of decomposition that they cannot identify the deceased, they may solicit the services of a forensic anthropologist. One of the first tasks of the anthropologist is to determine whether the remains are in fact, that of a human or of some other animal. After this has been determined, the height and build and sex may be estimated through the measurements of certain bones. The race is identified by carefully examining the skeletal remains, particularly the facial bones. The structure of the nasal bones and openings, orientation of the cheek bones and the width of the face give clues as to the race of the decedent.
The bones and teeth are then carefully examined for evidence of the victim’s age. This information can usually be derived from factors such as dental wear, and degeneration in the bones of the spine. The condition of the bones and teeth are carefully noted and photographed. Any evidence of previous injury or dental work is used for comparison with dental and medical records of missing persons.
Evidence such as the appearance of soft tissue, insect activity and the growth of plant roots will provide clues as to the time of death.
If all this fails to identify the remains, the...

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