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  1. Victim Analysis by a Forensic Anthropologist    


    Describe the various characteristics of a victim that can be determined by a forensic anthropologist.


Subject Law and governance Pages 4 Style APA


Victim Analysis by a Forensic Anthropologist

            When forensic anthropologists analyse the human bones or remains, they are able to open a portal of scientific truth which supports the justice system in identifying facts about a specific criminal act. Since they are trained in anthropology, archaeology, osteology and even the procedures of chain-of-evidence, the forensic anthropologists are the key players in forensic science both in the laboratory and in the field. That is why these professionals are able to identify various characteristics of a victim, such as age, sex, and even cause of death among others.

Various Characteristics of a Victim That Can Be Determined

            In the laboratory, the knowledge of human osteology and anatomy helps the forensic anthropologists to identify the victim and even reconstruct the cause of death. They are able to determine what happened to the body when the individual was alive and after death (Thomas, Parks & Richard, 2017). The bones are examined using various scientific approaches in addition to the visual examination.  This enables the identification of the victims age, sex, stature, and possible even the ancestry.

            The biological profile that is derived from examining the skeleton of a victim can also help in revealing their personal history (Mundorff, 2011). A good example features the fine horizontal grooves on a victim’s front teeth which can indicate that the victim may have been malnourished and sick during childhood. A history of violence can be assumed if the bones have fractures. Therefore, by pinpointing these characteristics, a positive identification of the victim may be facilitated.

            After identifying the biological profile of the victim, the next step features an analysis of the trauma that led to death. The process of skeletal trauma analysis takes a lot of time. However, if done with care, the findings can reveal the circumstances surrounding the victim’s death (Thomas, Parks & Richard, 2017). Unfortunately, it takes a lot of experience to identify the actual object used to commit a crime. For instance, when a sharp object is used, it may be difficult to tell if it was a knife or a lawn mower blade. The more a forensic anthropologist analyses different bones, the better they get at making an accurate identification (Mundorff, 2011).

            These professionals are also trained on the evaluation and recognition of any changes on the human body, which may be caused by environmental conditions. That is because the appearance and composition of a bone tends to change over time as one gets more exposed to these conditions (Thomas, Parks & Richard, 2017). Therefore, the professionals will not make a wrong identification since they are trained on these changes. For example, an untrained individual will easily mistake the erosion of the braincase by water or wind for a wound that led to the death of an individual. In addition, a history of rodent bites may end up forming conical depressions that will be easily misinterpreted for knife wounds by an inexperienced person. Therefore, forensic anthropologists are important professionals who ensure that the right identification of a victim’s characteristics are made.


            The forensic anthropologists can help in identifying a victim’s characteristics thereby helping with the closing of cases. Thus, they should be involved right from the start of the investigation to ensure that they are able to recover and protect the human remains for proper analysis. They will then give information regarding the sex, age, personal history, and even cause of death of the victim, thereby promoting justice for the victim and his or her family.


Mundorff, A. (2011). Integrating forensic anthropology into disaster victim identification. Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology8(2), 131-139. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12024-011-9275-0

Thomas, R., Parks, C., & Richard, A. (2017). Accuracy rates of ancestry estimation by forensic anthropologists using identified forensic cases. Journal of Forensic Sciences62(4), 971-974. https://doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.13361

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