Blog 1- ABFA

ANP 206

Rosilyn R. Boyd

Blog 1

Explore one website for a professional organization representing a sub-field of biological anthropology. Discuss the ways in which such studies contribute to the broader themes of anthropology.

The website that l explored is called- “ABFA- American Board of Forensic Anthropology”. I chose this website because it is a sub-field of anthropology that l am somewhat familiar with. I am a non-traditional student and probably the oldest student in this class, returning to school in my 50’s to complete a degree that l started many years ago in Early Childhood Education. This class, Anthropology 206, is a required course that is needed to satisfy the Natural Science credits l need to complete my degree. This class is titled “Introduction to Physical Anthropology” and this is the first class I have ever had on Anthropology since High school!

My husband is a retired Michigan State Trooper and I remember him being on a forensic team and participating with other officers as crime scene investigators. He went to the “Crime Scene Technician School,” through the Michigan State Police and “The Specialized School on Managing Death Investigation,” through the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He collected evidence to summit to the Michigan State Police crime lab. He took photographs of crime scenes and the victims. He also collected fingerprints and other trace evidence.

The “American Board of Forensic Anthropology” has set high standards and guidelines that goes far beyond collecting evidence. To become certified through the ABFA you have to be a forensic anthropologist. The website states: “Diplomate certification is based upon education, training, experience, practice and, rigorous examinations on theory and practices”. The website also includes a Home Page with basic information on Forensic Anthropology. The practice of Forensic Anthropology consist of- “specializing” in the study of human remains. The overall analysis of human remains can include: age, sex, ancestry, and trauma to body before and after death.

I also found it interesting that on the “For Students” page on the website, the article mentioned the seriousness of forensic anthropology. The shows on television like, “The First 48” can make forensics look fun, interesting and exciting.  Being a Forensic Anthropologist takes serious dedication and education beyond a Bachelor’s degree. To be included in the ABFA as a certified Anthropologist means you are in a category with other diplomates that have high standards of ethics, have accomplished a master degree in Anthropology or higher degree. They have training and experience and continue their professional development throughout their careers. For organizations in need of a Forensic Anthropologist should know the ABFA have an Accreditation Board that select those who meet the Diplomate certification qualifications.

Anthropologist who specialize in Forensic Anthropology contribute to other areas of Anthropology as well. Physical or Biological Anthropology can be used to help identify remains of humans. Paleontologist can also help with finding and identifying human remains. Molecular anthropologist can help connect DNA to missing or recovered remains. Forensic Anthropology is important to society because it has helped find and recover many people who were missing. It has also helped determine the cause of death, bringing understanding and closure to many families of loved ones who have died.

4 thoughts on “Blog 1- ABFA

  1. Hi rosilyn
    I love your post about “ABFA- American Board of Forensic Anthropology”. The idea of the the post is well thought and excellent. Thank you for talking such a good article. For the anthropology, most attractive part of the subject that is forensic anthropology. I love watch the crime shows in the television with all the forensic anthropology. The forensic anthropology can be used solving so many difficult and critical case in human history. I wish i could be a Forensic Anthropologist takes serious case and fight against all the bad things. I think it is true that The “ABFA” has set high standards and guidelines that goes far beyond collecting evidence. The evidence is an importance element for all the critical case. With the evidence the forensic anthropology become weak and powerless.

  2. I would like to first congratulate you on the determination and dedication you have for coming back to school after being away for so long. I am a firm believer in that if one sets their mind on something we can accomplish anything and everything we want. With that being said I hope you get through the class and are one step closer to receiving your degree. An interesting point you made with regards to forensic Anthropology was that it takes hard work, determination, and a level of seriousness. You also stated that TV shows such as “The First 48” in a way take away from this seriousness that is required for such a field of work. I agree with you and believe these shows are great at capturing the audiences imagination and leading them to believe it’s all easy. Yet the reality is that it’s not as easy as things play out in TV shows.

  3. Hi Rosilyn! The intro to your blog really captured my attention. I would first like to say that I, too, wrote my blog of forensic anthropology; and I am also taking this course to complete my natural science requirement. However, this is my first anthropology class and I am looking forward to learning more about it.

    I see that you mentioned the TV series, the “First 48,’ but I am not sure if you have ever watched the show. It is one of my favorite TV programs to watch and I do agree it probably looks fun to collect the evidence, but I don’t think I’d ever be able to stomach actually being at the scene and collecting evidence. Lastly, I also would not be able to go to the home of a loved one and tell them a family member of theirs will not be coming home. Thankfully there are forensic anthropologists who can help determine the cause of death and help law enforcement officers to retrace the victim’s last step before their death.

  4. First of all, I would like to say congrats on returning to school! I think it’s great when older people come back to college.
    Your husband’s former job sounds very interesting. When I was younger, that was exactly what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. I think forensic anthropology is the most interesting field in anthropology because the puzzle you’re solving is more present and more relevant as well as important.
    I did not know that you needed more than a Bachelor’s Degree to be a forensic anthropologist although it does make sense.
    It’s also very interesting that all sorts of different types of anthropologists – such as Molecular, Physical, and Biological – contribute to the goal of forensic anthropology to solve the puzzles.

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