Forensic Science: Medicolegal System

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Forensic Science is formed of many branches that aim to benefit the medicolegal system. One such branch is forensic anthropology, a multidisciplinary field that is on the rise. Forensic anthropology is the study of skeletal remains and can be used to gain insight into the circumstances surrounding a death or identify the living, to be used in a legal setting. This includes “identification and detection of signs of trauma which may lead to establish cause and manner of death” (Cattaneo). Typically, forensic anthropology is most critical when a body is decomposed for a long period of time, so that there is a lack of soft tissue for the forensic pathologist. Additional moments when forensic anthropology is useful is when the remains are burned…show more content…
After it became a formal field, determination of age, sex, race, and stature through observation of skeletal remains became its primary focuses. In 1987, the AAFS had 91 members, and in 2007, the number grew to 323. In the past two decades, the number of publications and number of topics within the field of forensic anthropology has grown tremendously (Dirkmaat 33). Most forensic anthropologists have experience in skeletal analysis; these members form the core of the community. Individuals with graduate specializations in forensic anthropology and members of forensic science organizations also contribute to the pool of forensic anthropologists. What differentiates those who are physical anthropologists from those who are forensic scientists is the knowledge of the legal implications and a thorough knowledge of criminal cases in the legal aspect (Grivas…show more content…
Individuals in the field are frequently called upon to provide age estimations, to determine sex, to examine stature, and to assess the race of skeletal remains. When forensic anthropology was still developing, many in the field acted as advisors to the medical examiner. Few publications were aimed at audiences outside of the medical examiner, for instance medicolegal specialists or lawyers. However, the time period around 1972 marked the change for forensic anthropology in which it started to take on a more authoritative role, increasing demand for forensic anthropologists. Notable works that contributed to the rise of the field include Krogman’s 1962 The Human Skeleton in Forensic Medicine and Stewart’s Essentials of Forensic Anthropology. Forensic anthropology can take place in a crime lab, but frequently is practiced outside of labs as well. Many anthropologists are called into the field to examine and identify bones at the site. The purpose of traveling to the site may be to help recover the remains if they are buried, scattered, or risk compromising the evidence if moved. For example, Bill Maples headed a time to analyze “the skeletal contents in the tomb of Pizarro,” and many other forensic anthropologists are called out to the site to examine the bones (ibid). Forensic anthropology has also begun to grow in the

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