According to the ABFA (American Board of Forensic Anthropology) website Forensic Anthropology is "the application of the science of physical or biological anthropology to the legal process." "In addition to assisting in locating and recovering human skeletal remains, forensic anthropologists work to asses the age, sex, ancestry, stature, and unique features of the decedent from the skeleton." ABFA stands for the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. This organization was established in 1977 to set a standard for forensic anthropologists who could be called into court to testify. Prior to this time forensic anthropologists were part of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. They decided to branch off when their numbers began to grow and the need for some type of certification to be required so that only experienced qualified professionals would be called to testify. Forensic anthropologists are most helpful when the body has been deteriorated bad(maybe use a better word than bad) enough so that the bodies are more skeleton than tissue. At this point forensic pathologist would ask for the council of the anthropologist. In the past the forensic anthropologists main responsibilities were to determine if the remains were human. From that point they would then determine sex and age. After this was accomplished they would attempt to determine race. With break throughs in DNA testing these things have become less and less useful. Today forensic anthropologists are breaking through into cause of death determination. They are also finding out that forensic anthropologists can be very helpful at the crime scene itself. Their background skills in archaeology prove to be a very effective way to collect evidence and possibly what took place at the crime scene. Also in recent years forensic anthropologists have become authorities on body decomposion. You should let us know what ABFA stands for first if you abbrevate it its just a suggestion
What are the sections stated aims?Edit
The stated aim of the ABFA is to find medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement agencies, and notify them of the certified forensic anthropologists that are at there disposal. Diplomats themselves are held to extremely high standards of ethics, conduct, and professional practice in forensic anthropology.
What role does it play in the wider American Anthropological Association?Edit
If you look on the official American Anthropological Associations website you will not find forensic anthropology. It has the ABFA, its own board and website. This is kind of funny though considering that forensic anthropology for the most part is accomplished by using techniques from physical anthropology and archaeology.
Who are some of the prominent members of the section? Edit
Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat
Dr. Dirkmaat received his B.S. and PhD from the University of Pittsburg. He is now a Professor of Anthropology at Mercyhurst College. Since Dirkmaat has arrived at Mercyhurst their graduate and undergraduate programs for forensic anthropology have become tops in the country. Dirkmaat is one of only two certified forensic anthropologists in the state of Pennsylvania by the ABFA. He also has a fellowship with American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He has conducted over 300 cases with more than 30 coroners, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies. He has participated as primary forensic anthropologist during mass fatalities in Pittsburg (USAir flight 427 crash in 1994), the island of Guam (KAL flight 801 crash in 1997), Rhode Island (Egypt Air 990 crash in 1999), and is currently a member of the National Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team. He has worked as a consultant for companies involved in plane crashes all over the world. To date Dr. Dirkmaat has presented over70 lectures and papers discussing forensic anthropology at numerous regional, national, and international meetings.
Dr. Stephen D. Ousley
suck my assss
Dr. William M. Bass
Bass received his B.A. from the University of Virginia, his M.A. from the University of Kentucky, and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Bass is most well known for the "body farm", at the University of Tennessee which he started. It is the only body collection of its kind in the country and it makes for great study data. Bass is also an expert in body decomposition. He has writtin countless articles and books on all matters of subject in forensic anthropology. He is currently retired from teach at Tennessee but he does still publish. If you were to ask any forensic anthropologist today who the most prominent forensic anthropologist alive right now is they would tell you Dr. William Bass.
Dr. Debra Komar
Dr. Komar is now an associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. She received her B.S. at the University of Toronto, her M.S. at Queens University, and her PhD at the University of Alberta. Dr. Komar is notably known for her work with genocide recovery. In 1999, she was part of the Physicians for Human Rights in Bosnia. In 2000, she was hired by the United Nations to do recovery and identification work in Kosovo. In 2001, she worked for the International Commission for Missing Persons in Bosnia. In 2004, she did some work in Iraq helping to identify troops. Then again in 2006, she worked for the Scientific Advisory Team in Darfur. She has published multiple books and essays and is very well respected in the forensic anthropology community.
How is it constituted and governed? Edit
As mentioned before any forensic anthropologist that wants to be ABFA certified has their work cut out for them. As mentioned earlier diplomat certification is based upon a personal and professional record of education and training, experience, and achievment. After they have checked out there then they have to go through rigorous examination, covering both theory and practice. If you look on the ABFA website it says right there that diplomats must adhere to high standards of ethics, conduct, and professional practice in forensic anthropology. They also are subject to examination later on in their careers to be sure they are caught up on current information.
Has the section been involved in any major controversies? Edit
Race has been the only major controversy in forensic anthropology. Race has been a touchy subject in our country since its beginning so why would it be any different in forensic anthropology. In reality this is just a continued fight from physical anthropology. As soon as physical anthropologists decided they could tell you who was a criminal based on a few anthropometrical measurements the rest of the community was faced with the delicasy of dealing with race. Physical anthropologists found skeletal characteristics that helped identify race long ago but due to the bigotry of a few it made this stuff un-popular to study. In reality this is a big part of the identification process. If you can determine the ancestry of some skeletal remains you can really narrow down your list of suspects.
Has the section been involved in any major public outreach activities? Edit
If you look up in the prominent members section of this wiki you will find a few individuals that have participated in these public outreach activities. Any war that the United States has been a part of since WWII, forensic anthropologists have gone to help identify dead soldiers that could not be identified otherwise. Forensic anthropologists are also called in for plane crashes around the world to help identify the deceased. (see Dirkmaat) Any place where genocide has taken place and it is possible to get to the area forensic anthropologists are brought in to help identify victims. (see Komar)
1) Byers, Steven N.
2005 Introuction to Forensic Anthropology. United States: Pearson Educaton, Inc..
2) France, Diane L.
2003 Forensic Anthropology Module. United States: Globus Printing.
3) Komar, Debra A., and Jane E. Buikstra
2008 Forensic Anthropology. New York: Oxford University Press.
4) Iscan, M. Yasar
1981 Medical Anthropology Newsletter: Concepts in Teaching Forensic Anthropology 13(1): 10-12
5) Ousley, Stephen, and Richard Jantz, and Donna Freid
2009 American Journal of Physical Anthropology: Understanding Race and Human Variation: Why Forensic Anthropologists are
Good at Identifying Race
6) Sigler-Eisenberg, Brenda
1985 American Antiquity: Forensic Research: Expanding the Concept of Applied Archaeology 50(3): 650-655
7) Snow, Clyde C.
1982 Annual Review of Anthropology: Forensic Anthropology 11(0): 97-131