© 2013 Kimberly Nugent. All Rights Reserved.
One way that Biological Anthropology (the study of biology of humans) is applied, is in the field of Forensic Anthropology. The forensic anthropologist is first trained in the analysis of human skeletal remains mainly from historic and prehistoric contexts; then, the forensic anthropologist applies those methods to the modern medico-legal situations.
Methods and theories related to forensic anthropology are grounded in the work of the biological (bioarchaeologist) anthropologists and their research. The main goal of the forensic anthropologist is to provide an osteobiography that includes estimations of the age, sex, stature, individualizing features, evidence of trauma (pre- and postmortem), time since death, and possibly a suggestion of population affiliation for each individual.
The forensic anthropologist and/or the forensic archaeologist is qualified to assist with the search and recovery of the human remains, as their extensive knowledge of taphonomic processes, archaeological method, and skeletal morphology are part of their training. Differentiating human adult/subadult/fetal skeletal remains from animal remains is part of their knowledge base. The forensic anthropologist can also complete the identification and interpretation of burned skeletal remains.
Many forensic anthropologists have training in techniques for histological analysis of the bone, facial approximation, and facial superimposition. Most forensic anthropologists work on contract for the OCME, police agencies, and justice system, while maintaining a position with a research facility such as a university.