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How to Analyse a Skeleton for Signs of Trauma

Analysing a skeleton for signs of trauma is an important component of forensic practice. The presence of healed fractures (ante-mortem) can be useful for establishing an individual’s identity through comparison …

Types of Peri-mortem Trauma

Trauma occurring at around the time of death is of great interest to forensic anthropologists. Traumatic injuries to the skeleton are categorised into three broad types, including blunt force trauma, …

Domestic Violence

Domestic assault of elderly people, children and spouses is well documented within the forensic literature. Patterns of trauma from domestic assaults are sometimes difficult to differentiate from accidental injury: “I …

Recording Pathological Bone

The specific cause of abnormal bone cannot always be identified. Careful descriptive analysis is therefore of key importance. The renowned expert in skeletal pathology Don Ortner identified three essential elements …

New Bone Formation and Destruction

Although bone is a plastic and responsive tissue, it is limited in the ways in which it can respond to pathological or traumatic insults. Bone can form new bone or …

Age-at-death estimation of infants and juveniles

Techniques available for estimating the age-at-death of infant, juvenile and adult skeletal remains, include radiographic, histological and macroscopic methods. The majority of practitioners use macroscopic methods for estimating age-at-death from …

Estimating sex from the skull

The skull is also used to estimate sex. It is generally not considered to be as reliable as the os coxae, although in many skeletal samples it can still produce …

Estimating sex from the pelvis

The pelvis is one of the most sexually dimorphic regions of the skeleton. The overall shape of the male pelvis is narrow and steep, and the female pelvis is generally …

Estimating sex from skeletal remains

Sex is one of the first biological characteristics estimated from the adult skeleton. This is because some of the methods of estimating other identifying characteristics, such as age-at-death and stature, …

Late-Fusing Epiphyses and the Ribs

Age-at-death estimations are most commonly made using the pubic symphysis and auricular surface of the pelvis. However, several other methods are also employed, especially when the pelvis is not recovered …

Estimating Stature

The height of an individual can be estimated from their skeletal remains using two approaches. The first is called the “anatomical method”, which involves measuring the height of every skeletal …

Estimating Age-at-Death in Adults

Estimating age-at-death in adults can be more complicated than in non-adults because the changes we are observing are primarily degenerative and there is a much looser correlation between the biological …