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How does osteology help the anthropologist in identifying a body?Explain in detail

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sraghubar | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 5, 2012 at 12:34 PM via web

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How does osteology help the anthropologist in identifying a body?

Explain in detail

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bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted May 5, 2012 at 9:59 PM (Answer #1)

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Osteology is a subdiscipline of anthropology.  It is the study of the bones in a skeleton, which will help the anthropologist better understand the history of the individual in question.  Study of the human skeleton can tell the anthropologist indications of how the person lived, whether the person was male or female, the social standing the person most likely occupied, or certain cultural tendencies.  Study of the person's skeleton can also reveal things like the art of ancient warfare, depending on markings on the bones made by weapons of a certain age.  Disease is another thing that can be detected by the anthropologist as he studies the skeleton.  All these things will help the anthropologist better understand this persons placement in his or her circle of life.

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profdano | College Teacher | Honors

Posted May 9, 2012 at 8:30 PM (Answer #2)

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Osteology is the study of bones. It is a branch of biology and anthropology. The course is gaining popularity on college campuses. Criminal justice majors can sometimes take a class in osteology. I am familiar with this because I have taught a course. Trained personnel in forensics, anthropology, and osteology can examine skeletal remains and tell a good deal about that person. They can discern the sex of the skeleton as well as estimating the height and frame. If markings are present on the bones from trauma, this may help to identify or at least rule out an individual. It is possible to take samples of the bones and subject them to various biochemical testing which can evaluate the presence or absence of some diseases. However, very few jurisdictions have this capability or the facilities to conduct the testing.

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