Rosilyn R. Boyd
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.