forensic studies

Source:  Mitchell, I. J., Smid, W., Troelstra, J., Wever, E., Ziegler, T. E., & Beech, A. R. (2013). Psychopathic characteristics are related to high basal urinary oxytocin levels in male forensic patients. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 24(3), 309-318.

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Victim fragmentation patterns and seat location supplements crash data: American Airlines flight 587

Vidoli GM1, Mundorff AZ.

Studies of plane crash passenger injuries have focused on determining if the injuries were preventable and suggesting changes to airliner cabins which would reduce crash-related casualties. However, the 2001 crash of American Airlines (AA) flight 587 clearly was not survivable. The purpose of this study was to correlate AA  flight 587 passenger injuries to seat locations, as listed on the flight manifest, and then determine if the passenger injuries and fragmentation patterns yield information about the crash and/or precrash events. 

There were 2058 body fragments recovered and, of those, 1750 have been identified. Autopsy reports detailing injuries and extent of fragmentation, flight manifest, and the NTSB Aircraft Accident Report were examined for correlations among injuries, seat location, and crash event. Using the AIS as a model, a fragmentation scale was designed to record injury location and severity, with a focus on the extremities.

More whole bodies were recovered from victims seated on the plane’s right side and back half. Conversely, significantly more fragments for victims seated on the plane’s left side were recovered. The increased fragmentation from victims on the left side is an irregular pattern, particularly because the last information from the flight data recorder showed the plane’s sideslip to the right. However, there are no data for the flight’s final 13.6 s. Most eyewitnesses recount the plane rolling left before crashing. The increased fragmentation of victims seated on the left is consistent with structural damage from a left side impact, corroborating eyewitness accounts.

Correlating victim injuries and fragmentation patterns, seat location, and the plane’s structural damage can assist an investigation into plane crashes, particularly if flight data are missing.

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With urban, Western settler and Native American archaeological sites just a short distance from campus, students in the UM Anthropology Program have a lot of opportunities to get their hands dirty. The undergraduate major includes options in archaeology, cultural & ethnic diversity, and forensic, linguistic and medical anthropology. Students also can pursue a minor in linguistics and certificates in English as second language, historical preservation and forensic studies.

Graduate programs include general anthropology, forensic anthropology, cultural heritage, applied anthropology, applied medical anthropology and linguistic anthropology.

Learn more on the UM Anthropology Program website.


This is the 2nd blog post in this Quick Tips series on estimating the biological sex of human skeletal remains. If you haven’t read the first post on the basics of sexing skeletal remains, click here to start at the beginning.

Quick Tips: How To Estimate The Biological Sex Of A Human Skeleton – Skull Method.

One of the most widely used methods of sexing skeletal remains is by examining the skull. The skull has five different features that are observed and scored.  The five features are the:

  • Nuchal crest.
  • Mastoid process.
  • Supraorbital Margin.
  • Supraorbital Ridge.
  • Mental Eminence.

Each of these markers is given a numerical score from 1 to 5 relating to the level of expression, with 1 being minimal expression and 5 being maximal expression. Each feature should be scored independently, and without influence from the other identifying features. It has been generally found that female skulls are more likely to have a lower level of expression in all features, whereas male skulls are more likely to have higher levels of expression.

To observe the nuchal crest, one should view the skull from its lateral profile and feel for thesmoothness (1-minimal expression) or ruggedness (5-maximal expression) of the occipital surface, and compare it with the scoring system of that feature (Figure 2).

Click here to read the rest of the post and learn how to observe the 4 other markers on All Things AAFS!

List of Journals for the Forensic Anthropologist (and related fields)

This list includes journals in the fields of : anthropology, archaeology, legal medicine, forensic sciences and human biosciences. Enjoy!

Forensic Science International (link)

Legal Medicine (link)

Journal of Forensic Sciences (link)

International Journal of Legal Medicine (link)

Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine (link)

La Revue de Médecine Légale (link) - French and English language (French practice focus)

Rechtsmedizin (link) - German language

Journal of Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology (link)

Anthropologischer Anzeiger (Journal of Biological and Clinical Anthropology) (link) - English language (European practice focus)

American Journal of Physical Anthropology (link)

International Journal of Osteoarchaelogy (link)

Science & Justice (link

Kriminalistik (link) - German language

HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology (link)

Medicine, Science and the Law (link) - Official journal of the British Academy of Forensic Sciences (more general medico-legal articles)

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology (link)

Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société d'Anthropologie de Paris (link) - French and English language (evolutionary anthropology focus, some relevant biological anthropology coverage)

Journal of Anatomy (link)

Cambridge Archaeological Journal (link) - (often has relevant bioarchaeology articles)

Journal of Archaeological Science (link)

The novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin became popular in the northern states and created huge amounts of sympathy for the Abolition movement with it’s portrayal of an enslaved man. Abraham Lincoln allegedly said that the book was one of the reasons white people in the north began calling for a Civil War.

The film A Birth of a Nation was directly responsible for the Ku Klux Klan’s reestablishment as well as a reported spike in racially motivated crimes, attacks, and even riots.

A study has shown that watching shows that feature homosexuals and homosexual relationships increases viewers’ sympathy for lgtb causes, even in people who claim to be uncomfortable about homosexuality before they begin watching.

A significant portion of people involved in the world’s space programs claim that Star Trek and similar shows and movies inspired them as children and began their interest in space and science.

Currently there are more students than ever involved in forensic studies programs and there is evidence that shows like CSI, Law and Order, and other investigative crime shows is a factor in the increase in interest in the field.

Although still being researched, many experts claim that a “CSI Effect” is responsible for jurors demanding more forensic evidence in criminal trials there by raising the standard of proof for prosecutors, even if the standard is unrealistic and inaccurate.

The American Psychological Association has confirmed a link between violent video games and aggressive behavior especially in children.

Don’t tell me that fiction doesn’t impact reality.
TeachMeAnatomy - Making Anatomy Simple

Containing over 700 vibrant, full-colour images, TeachMeAnatomy is a comprehensive anatomy encyclopedia presented in a visually-appealing, easy-to-read format.

Just stumbled across this little gem of a site. For all those studying anatomy, this looks like an awesome place to start! The site is well organised into categories (head, neck, back, upper limb, lower limb, etc.) then is subdivided into areas (muscles, joints, nerves, etc.) that make for very easy navigation! Forensic anthro students rejoice at the ‘bones’ section under each category!

Flick xx

why don’t more people appreciate Bones?

Like Brennan and Angela are feminists

Booth and Bones have a super healthy relationship that isn’t them “bickering” 24/7 they actually are able to have nice serious conversations

Instead of trying to control everything, Booth will literally sit back and say,“I wouldn’t do that.” And allow Bones to destroy someone

Also is Bones tells him something, he listens. Like in 1.16, she tells him to treat the guy with respect, he listened and changed his attitude THATS!!!SO!!IMPORTANT!!!


Also the techniques and tests they use are actually very well done and things I’ve had to study in forensics, and typically are tests that would actually be done in a case