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Our demonstrators investigate: Identifying the sex of a skull

Katherine Linehan shows us how anatomy students learn how to find out basic information about a person using 'Skull kits'.

Now that we know how to estimate the sex of the skull, let’s see those techniques in action.

As part of their Biomedical Science undergraduate degree, students here at Sheffield undertake a Forensic Anatomy module where they are given a box of ‘anatomical evidence’ relating to an unidentified person. This evidence includes a skull, long bones, dental information and a post mortem report.

Students apply forensic techniques to this evidence, including a facial reconstruction, to determine the identity and cause of death.

One of the first tasks they are faced with is to analyse the bones in order to determine age, sex, ethnicity and pathology.

Here, we’ll watch three recent graduates from the course undertake an initial investigation of two skulls as they try to determine their sex.

We have added a PDF download of the skulls featured in the video in the ‘downloads’ section in the bottom of this page, so if you want to play along and examine the skulls yourself as you watch the demonstrators, you can refer to the image on the PDF.

Pay close attention to the characteristics that distinguish the male and female skulls – in the next step, we’ll ask you to try out these techniques for yourself.

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Forensic Facial Reconstruction: Finding Mr. X

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