Forensic Anthropology Study Guide

What is the role of bones in forensic science?
Identification of individual;
ID can link suspect to a crime;
Determining sex, age, height, race, and background.
Name several function of bones.
As a structural framework for tendons to attach to and provide support for soft tissue. To protect internal organs from injury e.g. the ribs protect the heart and lungs. To assist in movement.
Compare the skeleton of an infant with that of an adult. Include the number of bones and the amount of cartilage.
infant – over 450; adult – 206
Discuss the development of bones. Include in your answer:

Osteoblasts are the living cells and they deposit minerals (calcium phosphate) – which hardens to form bone. Newly trapped osteoblasts are called osteocytes. Osteoclasts are the other type of bone cells and their purpose or speciality is to dissolve bone. Bones need reshaping at time, and the osteoclasts secrete an enzyme to help dissolve certain areas of the bone for reshaping
Describe the process of ossification of bones.
Osteoblasts are the living cells from which bone originate. As you grow, your bones undergo a process called ossification where the osteoblasts cells travel to the center of the cartilage and deposit minerals (calcium phosphate) which hardens to form bone
Discuss cartilaginous lines found between bones:
What causes them to appear?
When do they disappear?
What happens to the lines?
How can the identification of cartilaginous lines be of any assistance to forensic anthropologists?

As the bones begin to fuse, the cartilage lines are visible – called epiphysis. As the bones finish fusion (when the cartilage is fully replaced) the line is no longer visible. All the lines are generally gone by the age of 18 in females, and 25 in males. You can use the cartilaginous to help in determining the approximate age of the individual
Explain the role of the periosteum in maintenance of bone.
Periosteum is a membrane that serves an important role in keeping bones moist and aiding in the repair of injuries
Describe how bone is constantly being repaired and replaced as we grow.
This process continues throughout our life, but should an accident occur such as a broken bone, our blood can increase the amount of calcium phosphates to that area for healing. These newly trapped osteoclasts are called osteocytes
Discuss what happens to your bones as you age.
Throughout an individual’s lifetime, bones are being produced and being broken down. Children build more bones at a faster rate than the rate of bones being broken down resulting in bones increasing in size. After 30 years, process begins to reverse; bones deteriorate faster than they are built.
Briefly discuss osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones and can be made worse by not getting enough calcium in the diet.
A femur from an African-American male is found measuring 21 cm. Approximately how tall was he?
116.32 cm
A skull is found with the lamboidal suture closed but the coronal suture is still open. Based only on this information, estimate the age of the deceased.
Over 32 but under 50 years
14. Explain the following differences in the male and female pelvic bones:
width of the pelvic opening
Female is oval shape, much wider and male is smaller and heart shaped
length and width of the sacrum and position of sacrum
Sacrum directly below on male and more leaned back on female. Male is longer, more narrow and curved inward. Female is shorter, curved backward, and broad.
subpubic angle
Pelvis angle is greater than 90 degrees on female and less than 90 on male.

accept it that all the answers on one side you can’t have everything
Explain the differences in the following features between male and female skulls:
smoothness of the skull
Female skeleton – smooth (gracile) and less knobby
Male skeleton – rougher (robust) and bumpier
presence or absence of the occipital protruberance
Present in male and absent in female
brow ridges
More brown ridge in male than female.
forehead shape (sloping or vertical)
Female is slanting and male is vertical
shape of the eyes (rounded or rectangular)
Eyes are more rounded with female and more square with male
jaw at or over 90 degrees
Jaw more over 90 degrees with male

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Explain how the femur differs in the male and female skeletons..
Male femur is thicker and joins the pelvis at a straighter angle than the female femur.

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