Print Version

Effective: Summer 2015

Corequisites: Corequisite: Completion of or concurrent enrollment in ANTH 13.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU/UC
3 hours laboratory. (36 hours total per quarter)

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Description -
Introductory laboratory course focusing on scientific methodology to reinforce topics from Forensic Anthropology lecture sections using hands-on technical training. Focuses on the medico-legal process utilized in forensics with an emphasis on the identification of human skeletal remains and evidence description. Contains exercises in identifying basic human osteology/odontology elements and morphological features. Will include standardized procedures for the assessment of age at time of death, sex, ancestry, trauma analysis, pathology, physical characteristics including height and weight, crime scene analysis, animal scavenging, and identification procedures. Focuses on how laboratory conclusions are utilized in courtroom proceedings during expert witness testimony.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Distinguish forensic scientific methodology from other methods of evaluation or thinking.
  2. Differentiate human skeletal remains from animal skeletal remains.
  3. Identify the bones of the human body and major morphological landmarks.
  4. Identify aspects of crime scene investigation imperative to analysis by forensic anthropologists and pathologists.
  5. Identify appropriate methods for preparation and reconstruction of remains in the laboratory.
  6. Determine the cause of death due to trauma by assessing different types of ante-, peri-, and postmortem changes to bone.
  7. Identify and describe common pathology, trauma, and natural anomalies.
  8. Determine the age, sex, stature, and handedness of human skeletal remains.
  9. Interpret taphonomic processes and archaeological methods.
  10. Practice evidence presentation in a mock-judicial setting.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
Anthropology Laboratory with lab facilities.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge in the following areas.
    1. Scientific method as related to forensic science and the medicolegal mode for methodology.
    2. Recovery scene methodology/protocols/field documentation
    3. Osteology and odontology indentification of individual elements and major morphological features.
    4. Determining sex
    5. Determining age at death
    6. Death and trauma
    7. Blunt and Projectile trauma
    8. Antemortem skeletal conditions
    9. Postmortem changes to bone
    10. Aspects of Individualization
    11. Forensic Anthropology in Practice
  2. Students conducting laboratory research will gain proficiency in the following areas.
    1. Use of instrumentation such as microscopes, spreading and sliding calipers.
    2. The appropriate handling of human remains.
    3. Crime scene investigation techniques.
    4. Data gathering and analysis using current statistical and mapping programs.
    5. Graphing and interpretation of data using scientific methodology.
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Out of class problem sets
  2. Lab reports
  3. Quizzes
  4. Skill demonstrations or problem solving
    1. Class participation and attendance
    2. Field work
    3. Practicum exams
Representative Text(s) -
Byers, Steven N., Forensic Anthropology Lab Manual, Second Edition. Allyn and Bacon. 2007.
Saferstein, Richard, Basic Laboratory Exercises for Forensic Science, Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science, Second Edition. Prentice Hall. 2010.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lectures
  2. Laboratory demonstrations
  3. Laboratory exercises
Lab Content -
Projects cover methods, techniques, and procedures used in forensic anthropology research. Emphasis on skill, quantitative/qualitative methods, demonstrations, and problem solving.
  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge in the following areas.
    1. Scientific method as related to forensic science and the medicolegal mode for methodology.
      1. Exercise: Data gathering and analysis
      2. Exercise: Instrumentation and Measuring
    2. Recovery scene methodology/protocols/field documentation
      1. Exercise: Mapping and Diagram
      2. Exercise: Surface-Deposited Body
      3. Exercise: Interred Body
      4. Exercise: Non-human versus Human Bone
    3. Osteology and odontology indentification of individual elements and major morphological features.
      1. Exercise: Cranial and postcranial skeleton
      2. Exercise: Human dentition
    4. Determining sex
      1. Exercise: Pelvis
      2. Exercise: Skull
      3. Exercise: Subadults
    5. Determining age at death
      1. Exercise: Adult
      2. Exercise: Subadult
      3. Exercise: Calculation of stature
    6. Death and trauma
      1. Exercise: Bone trauma basics
      2. Exercise: Types of trauma
      3. Exercise: Timing of injury
    7. Blunt and Projectile trauma
      1. Exercise: Blunt trauma Cranial/Post-cranial
      2. Exercise: Analysis of Projectile Wounds
    8. Antemortem skeletal conditions
      1. Exercise: Common Pathologies
      2. Exercise: Anomalies
      3. Exercise: Occupational stress markers
    9. Postmortem changes to bone
      1. Exercise: Basics of saws and saw damage
      2. Exercise: Other postmortem damage
    10. Aspects of Individualization
      1. Exercise: Radiograpghy Facial Reproduction
      2. Exercise: Comparisons of Dental Records
    11. Forensic Anthropology in Practice
      1. Exercise: Final Report Writing
      2. Exercise: Expert Witness Testimony
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
Laboratory Exam 1: Explain the methods used to process a crime scene along with any evidence collected. Student should describe and explain:
  1. Legal considerations in processing a crime scene
  2. The significance of physical evidence
  3. Different types of evidence found at crime scenes, including hair, fibers, blood, glass, body fluids, fingerprints, documents.
  4. The different testing available for each type of found evidence.
    1. Glass, comparing fragments, preservation, types, properties.
    2. Soils, different types.
    3. Hair, fiber and paints, characteristics, man made vs. human.
    4. Alcohol and drugs characteristics in determining drug identification.
    5. Toxicological findings and the toxicology report.