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Human Variation and Forensics Worksheet   What you should learn…

Human Variation and Forensics Worksheet

 

What you should learn from this lab:

Modern humans around the world are all members of a single species:  Homo sapiens.  Biologically, Homo sapiens is a polytypic species, meaning that there are multiple phenotypes (physical presentations) of human traits within this one Human Race.  

 

 

Explain how Ethnic Origin (regional ancestry) can be determined from bone but not “Race”.

 

 

 

 

Explain why a biological anthropologist cannot determine gender from skeletal remains.

 

 

Using the cranial and nasal index formulas below, calculate the following:

 

    1)  ​Cranial breadth = 14.4 cm

​Cranial length =  18.2 cm

​Cranial index:​  

 

    2)​Nasal breadth =  2.5 cm

​Nasal height =   4.6 cm

​Nasal Index:​

 

Using the information that you calculated in 1) and 2) above, describe this individual in terms of head shape and nose shape.

 

 

 

What are the four elements of constructing a Biological Profile in Forensic Anthropology?

 

 

 

An individual’s skeletal remains were found displaying the following list of traits: Rounded eye orbits, shoveled incisors, a flat facial profile and narrow subpubic angle. 

What is the most likely ethnic origin and sex of this individual?

 

 

 

Another individual’s skeletal remains were found displaying the following list of traits: Narrow nasal aperture, retreating zygomatic bones, a small mastoid process and smooth nuchal area.

What is the most likely ethnic origin and sex of this individual?

 

 

 

Another individual’s skeletal remains were found displaying the following list of traits: Small brow ridges, narrow face shape, slanted ascending ramus and a narrow and curved sacrum.

What is the most likely ethnic origin and sex of this individual?

 

 

 

Determining age at death for sub-adults is achieved by looking at the degree of epiphyseal fusion in several bones from the same individual.  Forensic Anthropologists create a chart to illustrate the overlap between the ages at which various fusions occur:

 

Example:  the proximal end of the humerus fuses between the ages of 14-23 years old.  The distal end of the humerus fuses between the ages of 11-18 years old.  If the recovered human remains humerus has an proximal end that is almost but not quite fused and a distal end that is fused solid, then we can estimate the age at death as between 14-18 years old.

 

    Years old11121314151617181920212223
Proximal end   xxxxxxxxxx
Distal endxxxxxxxx     

 

:

 

    Years old11121314151617181920212223
Humerus Distal end             
Femur Proximal end             
Tibia Proximal end             
Os Coxaeillium/ischium/pubis fusion             

 

The distal end of the humerus is almost fused

The proximal end (head) of the femur is fused

The proximal end of the tibia is fused

The three bones of the os coxae have fused completely

 

What is the approximate age at death of the above individual?

 

 

 

 

Examine the skulls on the Specimens page for this worksheet. 

Approximately how old were the following individuals when they died?  How can you tell?

 

Skull 1

 

 

Skull 2

 

 

 

Look at the chart on the last page of the reading assignment for this week.

Which bone is the most accurate in determining stature for a Caucasian female?  How do you know?

 

 

 

 

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