Anthropology

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Anthropology 101
Forensic Anthropology

Anthropology is the scientific study of the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of humans (Larsen). Within anthropology, there are branches that specialize in certain fields of study. Forensic anthropology is one of those branches. Forensic anthropology is applying knowledge of biology, science, and culture to the legal process (pbs.org). Physical or biological anthropologists who specialize in forensics primarily focus their studies on the human skeleton (theabfa.org). What is so interesting about this specific discipline of anthropology is the fact that it helps identify and narrow down the approximate cause of death, rather than guessing. Forensic anthropologists apply specific scientific techniques developed in physical anthropology to analyze human remains and to aid in the detection of crime (theabfa.org). Homicide detectives began turning to forensic anthropologists in the 1930s to help figure out specific causes of death. The gangland murders in the 1930s in particular forced the FBI to turn to forensic anthropologists to help bring organized crime to its knees (pbs.org).

Every adult human has 206 bones in their body that identify them as being human (anthropology.si.edu). Bones are able to explain details to someone who has a trained eye. A trained forensic anthropologist can identify gender, ethnicity, age, illness, pregnancies, and even possible careers (pbs.org).

What made forensic anthropology such an appealing subject, and for me in particular, was its relationship between identifying dead Soldiers and science. I served overseas and I truly understand the importance of closure for a family who loses a loved one in war. Forensic anthropologists during World War II and the Korean War helped develop a database of information that became the basis of identification that is used by forensic anthropologists today (pbs.org). As a Soldier, you are required to receive a...
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