Isn’t anthropology just the study of people?
You would be correct, of a fashion; technically the broad definition of anthropology is simply the study of people everywhere and throughout all of time. More specifically though there are a few variations or specialties within the field. In our case, forensic anthropology is comprised of biological or physical anthropology (this includes human and biological evolution) and human osteology (studying the human skeleton). In a legal setting, one of the most common things that a forensic anthropologist will do is examine human skeletal remains.
The main purpose of studying said remains is to establish race, gender and age and also attempt to discover any trauma to the bone structure, that is, whether it has been cracked, smashed, has cut marks from a knife blade etc. This can be a very handy thing indeed as it can help prove mode of death as there is no flesh for a pathologist to conduct a traditional autopsy upon.
We will continue to add more articles to this section as time goes by regarding every aspect of forensic anthropology, so stay tuned!
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