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A young couple discovered a skull while out for a morning run in the park. The police found two skeletons and need help discovering the identity of these two skeletons. The role I played in this was a forensic anthropologist. Forensic anthropologists are involved in the legal system, often times being called in to testify in court. They identify the identity of remains, such as gender, race, sex, height and age to help solve legal cases.
Bones contribute to a person’s identity because they are unique for everyone. They change shape and size depending on ethnicity, gender, age, and height. So your outward appearance depends on your bones. An advantage of using bones to identify a person is you do not need the whole body to identify the factors of the person. Likewise, a disadvantage is it is hard to identify the factors of a person if only a few bones are present. Another disadvantage is if the person is of multiple ethnicities, it makes it more challenging because the bone measurements could fall under several different categories. We analyzed the bones by measuring specific parts of the bone using calipers. To determine age we analyzed whether or not certain bones were fused together, a sign of ageing. We determined that our skeleton was a Caucasian male around the age of 20-25, measuring anywhere from 5’5” to 5’8”. The bones most likely belonged to either Jack Matthews or Robert Jones because they best fit the description for the analysis of the bones. They are both in their 20’s, measuring about 5’5”. The bones are least likely to belong to Rachel Jones because the bones belonged to a Caucasian male and Rachel is an African-American woman.
Facial reconstruction is a process in which forensic scientists use clay to reproduce the facial features of the skull. It helps to better identify the remains. Facial reconstruction would have been helpful in this case because we had multiple people who the remains could have belonged to. It was narrowed down but not enough to completely identify the bones. With facial reconstruction it would have pinpointed the person it was because you would be able to tell by the clay facial features. Another test that could be run to identify the body is blood tests if any blood is present on the bones. It could potentially narrow down the identity of the remains, or in the case of homicide, help catch the killer.
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