Forensic Science 210

FOSC 210: Introduction to Forensic Anthropology

Prerequisites:  ANSC 101 or permission of instructor

Coss-Listed: ANSC 210

Credit Hours: (3)

Serves as an introduction to the field of forensic anthropology, the identification and analysis of human remains in a legal context. It includes a brief study of the major bones of the human body, their growth, development, variation, and initial treatment and examination. Through lectures, readings, and discussions, emphasis is placed on the major methods and techniques forensic anthropologists use to identify unknown human remains for law enforcement, including preliminary discussions of determination of age, sex, ancestry, and stature from the human skeleton. It also includes discussions of determination of time since death (or postmortem interval), manner of death, as well as differentiating antemortem, perimortem, and postmortem trauma. The role of the forensic anthropologist in mass disasters and human rights abuse cases is also considered.

Note(s): Students cannot receive credit for both ANTH 230 AND ANSC 210.

Detailed Description of Content of Course

1. Introduction to Forensic Anthropology
2. Basics of Human Osteology and Odontology-the Cranial Skeleton
3. Basics of Human Osteology-the Postcranial Skeleton
4. Establishing the Forensic Context
5. Recovery Scene Methods; Initial Treatment and Examination
6. Bone Growth and Development and the Determination of Age from the Skeleton
7. Attribution of Sex from the skeleton
8. Attribution of Ancestry from the skeleton
9. Determination of Stature, Handedness, and other Body Dimensions
10. Introduction to Specialized Techniques; Methods of Individuation
11. The Effects of Antemortem Trauma and Conditions on the Human Skeleton
12. The Effects of Perimortem and Postmortem Trauma on the Human Skeleton
13. Forensic Anthropology and Mass Disasters; Human Rights
14. Ethics; Contemporary Issues in Forensic Anthropology

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Because of the introductory nature of this course, a traditional lecture and discussion format will be used to present much of the class material.  These lectures will be supplemented with out-of-class readings and exercises as well as in-class slides, films, discussion, and field trips.  Readings will particularly highlight case studies in forensic anthropology.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

From this course, students will be able to:

1. Understand major aspects of the field of Forensic Anthropology, including its goals, methods, and theoretical underpinning;
2. Know the major bones of both the adult and subadult human body;
3. Understand how the human skeleton grows, develops, and how this process can aid age-related forensic identification of unknown human remains;
4. Understand the variability in the human skeleton (e.g., sexual, racial, individualistic) and how knowledge and measurement of this variability can aid in forensic identification of unknown human remains;
5. Know the major methods for initial treatment and examination of human remains, including ethical considerations in doing so;
6. Understand the differential effects of antemortem, perimortem, and postmortem trauma;
7. Understand the role of Forensic Anthropologists in Mass Disasters and Human Rights abuse cases;
8. Understand case studies in the application of forensic anthropological study of human remains in a legal context.

Assessment Measures

Students will be assessed through a combination of in-class examinations (including both an objective and essay component) as well as periodic in- and out-of-class writing assignments and exercises.

Other Course Information

Review and Approval

September, 2007

December, 2009

April, 2011