Category Archives: Anthropology & Entomology

The Forensic Antropologist

Robert W. Mann, M.A.
Douglas H. Ubelaker, Ph.D.
Physical Anthropologists Department of Anthropology Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

This Article Originally Appeared in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, July 1990.

In recent years, just as the investigation of a crime scene has become more complex and sophisticated, so has the task of the forensic anthropologist. Forensic anthropologists assist medical and legal specialists to identify known or suspected human remains.

The science of forensic anthropology includes archeological excavation; examination of hair, insects, plant materials and footprints; determination of elapsed time since death; facial reproduction; photographic superimposition; detection of anatomical variants; and analysis of past injury and medical treatment. However, in practice, forensic anthropologists primarily help to identify a decedent based on the available evidence. Continue reading

The Role Of Entomology In Forensic Investigations

Written by Katherine Steck-Flynn (2003)


This paper is intended for use by police and other emergency personnel who have occasion to be in contact to the recently and not so recently deceased. When first introduced I will mention the scientific name of the various species of insects which colonize bodies after death. After the first mention I will use the common name which is easier to both remember and pronounce.

All too often insect evidence is accidentally destroyed be emergency personnel who fail to realize the importance of this evidence. This author has personally witnessed well meaning emergency personnel shooing away insects and maggots at a scene. I have even observed emergency personnel stomping on maggots as they attempt to flee from the activity around the body. Education in the proper collection and preservation procedures is essential. Continue reading