Forensic anthropology is a branch of applied anthropology, in which experts use their knowledge of the human body to identify dead individuals. Forensic anthropologists often work with law enforcement agencies, identifying murder victims or unknown individuals. Archaeologists will use these same practices in a field called bioarchaeology, to identify how people lived and died in the past. Take a look at the Smithsonian Institute’s resources on Forensic Anthropology to discover how this practice has helped to solve many mysteries: http://anthropology.si.edu/writteninbone/forensic_files.html. Also read through forensic anthropologist Douglas Ubelaker’s account of the collaboration between anthropologists and the FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/forensic-science-communications/fsc/oct2000/ubelaker.htm .
Then, do some internet research on actual forensic anthropology cases–there’s a lot of information out there! Pick a reliable source that describes the work forensic anthropologists did on a specific case, and write a short summary in your own words (at least 8 sentences). Include the link to the website you find, and describe at least two specific features of the skeleton that the forensic anthropologists used to come to their conclusions. Good search terms to use are “forensic anthropology cases,” or “famous forensic anthropology cases.” You can even use episodes of TV shows like “Forensic Files.” Each student should post on a different case, so make sure you read each others’ work before you get too deep with your own research.
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