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