Skeletal Analyses

role of the forensic anthropologist

As a Forensic Anthropologist, Dr. Heather Garvin can provide important case information by examining the skeletal remains. These analyses typically help the Medical Examiner or Coroner identify an unknown decedent or unravel the circusmtances around the death.

identifying Unknown Decedents:

  • Inventory of remains and minimum number of individuals represented

  • Estimating a Biological Profile to assist in searching missing persons files:

        • Estimation of Biological Sex

        • Estimation of Ancestry/Population Affinity

        • Estimation of Age

        • Estimation of Stature

    • Documentation of skeletal anomalies, pathologies, or healed trauma to assist with ID

    • Perform radiographic comparisons (e.g., comparison of antemortem x-ray of suspected identity to postmortem x-ray) for identification. This can be done with any body regions.

    • Reconstruction of fragmented remains.

Circumstances of Death:

  • Trauma Assessment

      • Sharp Force Trauma (including dismemberments)

      • High Velocity Projectile (e.g., GSW) Trauma

      • Blunt Force Trauma

      • Thermal (e.g., Fire) Modification

      • Antemortem Trauma (e.g., suspected abuse cases)

  • Taphonomic Assessment

      • Differentiate postmortem modifications from trauma

      • Document & interpret animal activity, dispersal of remains context of remains

      • Determine whether scene represents a primary or secondary deposition

      • Provide rough estimtes of time since deposition