Ancestry assessment in subadult skeletons
MetadataShow full item record
The identification of individuals is the primary goal in any forensic investigation. To facilitate an identification, a biological profile (age, sex, ancestry, stature) for the unknown individual is created by a forensic anthropologist. For adult individuals, the aspects of the biological profile are largely straightforward. For subadult individuals, the only aspect of the profile that can be reliably estimated is age. However, an important but difficult aspect of the biological profile is ancestry. When working toward an identification of a set of subadult remains, it can only be said that the remains are consistent with the demographic profile of a missing child. Little research exists that examines the use of nonmetric traits for ancestry assessment in subadult individuals, and little is known about how the traits are expressed in different age groups. This study examines ancestry assessment in subadult skeletons using the Hamann-Todd Osteological Collection at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Terry Osteological Collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the Johns Hopkins Fetal Skull Collection at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. To assess ancestry, the skull and mandible of 307 subadult individuals, aged 0-20 years with known demographics are examined using the 15 nonmetric traits examined by Hefner (2009) normally used with adult individuals. Despite difficulties in scoring all 15 traits, there were differences found with each trait when compared to ancestral groups. Even among the youngest individuals in the sample, the traits could be identified and scored.
RightsAttribution 4.0 International