Post Cranial Osteology

Identification of human remains as part of criminal investigation requires the application of the knowledge of human osteology, genetics, and growth patterns. Sufficient information can be gathered from even fragmentary portions of skeletal material to make determinations of sex, race, stature, and age that will be used in the identification process. Students will learn the bones with the most forensic significance and the examination methods used to "read" them. Special emphasis will be made on diversity and ethical considerations as models were produced from actual skeletal remains.


Students will examine sample bones and use measurements taken to determine unique characteristics of the sample. They will learn the normal ranges for each of the three racial groups caucasoid, negroid, and mongoloid and see how this helps to identify a person.


Key bones for age:

Cranial sutures, tooth eruption, facial bones

femur, pelvis


Key bones for race ID:

Facial bones, tooth structure, cranium


Key bones for stature:

Femur, humerus, tibia, fibula, radius, ulna


Key bones for sex ID:

Pelvis, facial bones, mandible

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