Validation of a standard forensic anthropology examination protocol by measurement of applicability and reliability on exhumed and archive samples of known biological attribution

Raffaela Arrabaça Francisco, Martin Evison, Moacyr Lobo da Costa Junior, Teresa Cristina Pantozzi Silveira, José Marcelo Secchieri, Marco Aurelio Guimarães

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Abstract

Forensic anthropology makes an important contribution to human identification and assessment of the causes and mechanisms of death and body disposal in criminal and civil investigations, including those related to atrocity, disaster and trafficking victim identification. The methods used are comparative, relying on assignment of questioned material to categories observed in standard reference material of known attribution. Reference collections typically originate in Europe and North America, and are not necessarily representative of contemporary global populations. Methods based on them must be validated when applied to novel populations. This study describes the validation of a standardized forensic anthropology examination protocol by application to two contemporary Brazilian skeletal samples of known attribution. One sample (n=90) was collected from exhumations following 7-35 years of burial and the second (n=30) was collected following successful investigations following routine case work. The study presents measurement of 1) the applicability of each of the methods used and 2) the reliability with which the biographic parameters were assigned in each case. The results are discussed with reference to published assessments of methodological reliability regarding sex, age and—in particular—ancestry estimation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-250
JournalForensic Science International
Volume279
Early online date7 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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