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A Bone Detective Report: Determining The Sex, Race, and Height of Skeleton

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A week ago, a couple went out for a morning jog. When stopping to get a drink, they came across what they believed was a human skull. The couple called the police and when the police showed up they found two skeletons lying next to each other. We played the role of forensic anthropologists. We measured the sizes of the skull, the femur, and the humerus. Through these measurements, we could then determine the sex, race, and height of our bones.

Summary of Findings

Bones contribute to a person’s identity because there are subtle differences in everyone’s bones. By looking at a pelvic bone, you can tell if it is male or female. Also, you can tell the age of the skeleton by looking to see if certain bones are fused together yet or not. Bone marrow can also be extracted to give the exact identity of a person. Advantages to how bones contribute to a person’s identity are that students can use the pelvic bone to determine the difference between male and female. Students can also use the femur to determine male or female. Disadvantages of using bones to identify a person can be that not always are the measurements of someone’s bones going to match up to the right sex. For example, a males bones might be found but the measurements say they belong to a female. Limitations of using bones to learn more information about a person are that if there is no pelvic bone or skull it would be harder to identify between male and female.

We analyzed the bones by taking measurements of each bone. We measured the length and width of the femur and humerus. We also measured the nasal cavity and the eye orbit of the skull. Through our measurements, we could compare then to given data and decide if our bones were male or female. Looking at shape and measurements of the pelvic bone, we were able to identify the bones as belonging to a male. This is because the size of the pelvic was smaller and more heart-shaped which is characteristic of a male. When looking at the eye and eye orbits, we can infer that the skull belongs to a male. When taking measurements of the nasal cavity, we could identify the skull as belonging to someone of caucasian race. This was concluded based on the fact that the nasal index was. 46 millimeters, and other physical traits of the nose itself.

Lastly, we were able to determine the height of the skeleton. We did this by looking at the length and width of the femur and the humerus. We could conclude that the minimum height would be 5’5’’ and the maximum height would be 5’8’’. We also looked at fusions and determined that the age of the skeleton is between 20 and 25. Two missing persons that this skeleton might belong to are Jack Matthews or Robert Jones. This is because they are both white males. Jack Matthews is 5’5’’ and age 20. Robert Jones is 5’4’’ and 21. Their age and height match up with age and height of our skeleton. This skeleton least likely belonged to Jin Lee. Jin Lee is an asian female that is 5’2’’. Everything we determined from our skeleton doesn’t match up with Jin Lee.

Further Analysis

Facial reconstruction is a method used to identify skeletal remains. In this process, forensic anthropologists look at average soft facial tissue thickness in the skull and jaw. Using modeling clay, they can recreate the soft tissue to determine sex, race, and age. It could have helped in our case because we only had measurements of certain bones to base our information off of. Facial reconstruction would have been another tool we could have used to help us determine what sex, age, and race our skeletons were. DNA extraction could help us get more information about our individual. This is because the DNA could be extracted right from the bones we found. The DNA would be sent for testing and come back with results. DNA is specific to one person, so with the DNA results, we could determine who the individual was.

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A Bone Detective Report: Determining the Sex, Race, and Height of Skeleton. (2020, April 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from
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