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Last week, a young couple out running stumbled upon a human skull.

When the police

arrived at the scene, the discovered two skeletons lying side by side. They needed help for a forensic
anthropologist to determine the identities of the skeletons. The skeletons were brought back to the
lab for examination in order to determine the race, age, height, and gender of the skeletons.

The gender of the skeleton was determined by a combination of traits from

the pelvis, skull, tibia, and humerus. The pelvis resembled that of a female: the
sub-pubic angle was 110, the pubis body width was about 40mm, and the pelvic
cavity shape was circular and wide. All traits of the pelvis resembled a female. The
skull was not as clear as the pelvis. The traits resembling a female were the sharp
upper edge of the eye orbit, the round shape of the eye orbit, the smooth occipital
bone, and the slanting shape of the Mandible ramus. The male traits consisted of
an expressed zygomatic process, a present external occipital protuberance, and low
and slanting frontal bone. There were more characteristics of a female on the skull
even if some characteristics commonly found in males were present. The tibia and
humerus also resembled that of a female. The maximum epiphyseal breadth of
proximal tibia was 70mm which is close to the average 70.26. The maximum
epiphyseal breadth of distal tibia was 45 which was close to the 46.31 average of a
female. The humerus head had a transverse diameter of 37.5 and a vertical
diameter of 40. The humerus had a maximum length of 295mm and a epicondylar
width of 55mm. All characteristics of a female.
The race of the female was determined by examining the skull. Her nasal
index was .49 which is a characteristic of the Asian race. The nasal spine was
between prominent and somewhat prominent which could be a characteristic of
Asian or White. The shape of the orbital openings were rounded, and somewhat
circular a characteristic of Asian. Therefore, the skull had a majority of
characteristics leading to Asian.
The approximate height was determined using the tibia and the humerus.
Using the tibia, the minimum value would be 54 and the maximum value would be
57. Using the humerus, the minimum value would be 51 and the maximum value
would be 54. Combining the data the Asian Female would most likely be close to
54 in height. The age was determined by using qualitative observation of the
pelvis, humerus, and the tibia. In the pelvis, the two lowest segments of the sacral
vertebrate were joined together, thus the person would be 18. On the humerus, the
internal condyle was united with the shaft, and on the tibia, the lower epiphysis
joined the shaft. Therefore, she is most likely close to 18 years of age.
In order to determine the identity of questionable skeletons, facial
reconstruction has been used. This helped in cases where there were struggles to
determine the identity of the skeleton. This would be useful in this case because it
would allow for a more accurate way to identify skeletons.
Overall, one of the two skeletons was a 54 18 year-old, Asian Female. This
is not 100% correct. There is a large margin of error due to the qualitative and
quantitative observation. This is because the measurements could be off or
different people could have different opinions. I would recommend more
observations by different forensic anthropologists. Also, a full facial reconstruction
would be beneficial for further investigation of these skeletons.

DNA Analysis: After testing the DNA of the bones, the skeleton found matched
missing person number two. This is because the analysis of the gel electrophoresis
matched the DNA received from the family of person number two. Fragments
traveled the same distance concluding that the skeleton is person two.
Final Conclusion: After narrowing down the possibilities of who the skeleton could
have been, the forensic anthropologist was able to ask the families for the DNA.
They used the characteristics of 54 18 year-old, Asian Female to narrow the
possibility to two different missing people. The families were then asked to provide
DNA and their DNA was compared to that of the skeleton and determined that it
belonged to missing person number two. DNA analysis is a key component to
determining the identity of missing persons, without it, it would be nearly
impossible to determine 100% the identity of the skeletons.