Advances in Forensic Taphonomy: Method, Theory, and Archaeological Perspectives

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The taphonomic approach within paleontology, archaeology, and paleoanthropology continues to produce advances in understanding postmortem biochemical and morphological transformations. Conversely, advances in understanding the early and intermediate postmortem period generated in the forensic realm can and should be brought to the attention of scie
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Additional Information

Publisher
CRC Press
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Published on
Jul 30, 2001
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Pages
544
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ISBN
9781420058352
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Forensic Science
Social Science / Anthropology / Physical
Social Science / Archaeology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A forensic investigation requires a team of specialists from many different scientific fields of study along with legal and law enforcement specialists. In recent years, the range of cases on which forensic anthropologists have been consulted has expanded dramatically. The Use of Forensic Anthropology provides these professionals with guidelines for determining how to choose and when to use a forensic anthropologist.

The book begins with a historical overview of the field of forensic anthropology, and then presents basic information about how to approach a forensic recovery site. When skeletal or severely decomposed remains are discovered, normal methods of identification such as facial recognition and fingerprinting are ineffective. This book offers insights on how to find the right professional to assist with these difficult cases.

One of the key features is a chapter which presents a series of ten questions that must be answered, in order, about each case. Using this checklist will ensure the team working on the case that no stone is left unturned. Later chapters examine the relevance of race, ethnicity, and ancestry, determination of time of death, new investigation techniques, DNA, and categories of trauma. The final chapter brings the various parts of the process together to reconstruct a case.

The first responder to a scene with skeletal remains and the law enforcement agencies who become involved will likely be confronted with evidence that they cannot interpret. This volume provides a bridge for these professionals, enabling them to develop a standard protocol for investigating skeletal remains, highlighting important questions that must be answered, and assisting them in finding the right forensic anthropologist to solve the puzzle of an unexplained death.

A Laboratory Manual for Forensic Anthropology approaches forensic anthropology as a modern and well-developed science, and includes consideration of forensic anthropology within the broader forensic science community, with extensive use of case studies and recent research, technology and challenges that are applied in field and lab contexts. This book covers all practical aspects of forensic anthropology, from field recoveries, to lab analyses, emphasizing hands-on activities. Topics include human osteology and odontology, examination methods, medicolegal significance, scene processing methods, forensic taphonomy, skeletal processing and sampling, sex estimation, ancestry estimation, age estimation, stature estimation, skeletal variation, trauma analysis, and personal identification.

Although some aspects are specific to the United States, the vast majority of the material is internationally-relevant and therefore suitable for forensic anthropology courses in other countries.

Provides a comprehensive lab manual that is applicable to coursework in forensic anthropology and archaeology Covers all practical aspects of forensic anthropology, from field recoveries, to lab analysesIncludes discussions of human osteology and odontology, examination methods, medicolegal significance, scene processing methods, forensic taphonomy, skeletal processing and sampling, sex estimation, and moreEmphasizes best practices in the field, providing an approach that is in line with today's professional forensic anthropology
The determination of identity and the evaluation of trauma require special consideration when a body suffers extreme levels of damage sustained in a fire. Beginning with the search and recovery of the cremated remains (cremains) and the interpretation of the fire scene, the challenges and practicalities of recovering and analyzing burned remains demand a unique set of skills and expertise. This book provides a synopsis of these challenges and delineates, step-by-step, the recovery and interpretation of cremains from the point of discovery to the end of the analysis.
Presenting current research in forensic anthropology in a condensed, useable format, Forensic Cremation: Recovery and Analysis begins with an evaluation of the reasonable expectations for analyzing cremains in a forensic setting. It summarizes the contexts and challenges that face the professional and introduces a wide range of preservation encountered in a variety of fire contexts.
The book discusses the capacity and mechanisms of fire to alter the chemical and physical properties of materials, particularly those of human tissues. It emphasizes a flexible approach to the collection of cremains, taking into consideration the intermixing of the human tissue with the surrounding materials. A significant portion of the book examines the effects of fire on bone and the ability to determine trauma as peri- or post-mortem. It evaluates the practical use of dental tissue and DNA for identification and as an aid to the investigation.
Providing crucial information on the handling of cremated remains in a forensic context, Forensic Cremation: Recovery and Analysis presents a methodical approach designed to maximize the potential of the evidence.
Identity theft, criminal investigations of the dead or missing, mass disasters both by natural causes and by criminal intent – with this as our day to day reality, the establishment and verification of human identity has never been more important or more prominent in our society. Maintaining and protecting the integrity of out identity has reached levels of unprecedented importance and has led to international legislation to protect our human rights.
Forensic Human Identification: An Introduction examines the variety of biological indicators that are available to investigators and illustrates the basic principles of each discipline. While DNA and fingerprints are clearly the favored methods of identification, they require a prior record and verifiable baseline for comparison. When these tools cannot be used it is necessary to employ those biological factors with higher variation and lower diagnostic probability. This reference introduces a number of different specialties such as, foot- and earprinting, dental interventions, skeletal anomalies, tattoos, facial reconstruction, personal effects, and handwriting.
While recognizing that no single factor is an absolute indicator of identity, the contributors explain how a multitude of factors taken into summative consideration can establish a probability for confirmation. They discuss the difference between positive and probable identification and the use of exclusion to confirm identity. Using three high profile case studies, the book addresses the context of human identification in today’s society and illustrates the use of techniques described in the text.
Heavily referenced and using more than 120 charts, figures, photographs, and tables, Forensic Human Identification: An Introduction provides detailed introductory and extended information to newcomers and experts alike on the wide range of identification techniques in international practice.
Forensic taphonomy is the study of the postmortem changes to human remains, focusing largely on environmental effects—including decomposition in soil and water and interaction with plants, insects, and other animals. While other books have focused on subsets such as forensic botany and entomology, Manual of Forensic Taphonomy is the first update of the entire domain in more than ten years and the first book to consider distinguishing among multiple types of taphonomic changes.

Edited by two of the most distinguished experts in the field, this volume examines taphonomic alterations to bone and related taphonomic processes common to cases of forensic interest. Specific chapters address a range of issues related to:

Varying burial environments

Animal scavenging and transport

Fluvial and human transport

Cultural modifications

Marine environments

Subaerial weathering

Thermal alteration

Recovery methods used in collecting the remains

The book discusses inherent variations in survivability of different bones, degradation of DNA in different environments, and organisms involved in soft-tissue decomposition which result in skeletonization. It also describes microscopic alterations, color changes, macroscopic physical damage of multiple types, and bone loss through dispersal away from the location of initial body deposition. The authors present methods that can be employed to determine the timing of taphonomic damage (perimortem vs. postmortem) as well as checklists for the collection of microscopic and macroscopic taphonomic data.

The ability to recognize taphonomic characteristics and discriminate between osseous alterations with similar appearances but dissimilar origins is essential to those engaged in the analysis of skeletal remains. This volume is an ideal guide for students and non-specialists as well as a reference manual for professionals.

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