Blog One: ABFA

The American Board of Forensic Anthropology offers information on the studies of human remains involved in the legal system with a focus on the human skeleton. The ABFA is a certification website in forensic anthropology. It is explained that the study of Forensic Anthropology can be extremely useful in legal and humanitarian professions. Some of the broader themes of physical anthropology involve the use of basic scientific techniques in order to study the human body, its evolution, and the fossils it creates. The more specific study of forensic anthropology uses these same techniques to help criminal investigations through the analysis of human remains.

The study of social science is a large component of anthropology as a whole but specifically within forensic anthropology. The social aspect of physical anthropology is aided by the studies of forensic anthropology through the tracking of where and how human remains end up in the places they do. Looking further into the remains, forensic anthropologists examine the genetic variability of the remains through stature, sex, ancestry, age, and any other unique qualities that are exhibited. All of these findings can lead to answers pertaining to the basis of human behavior, a large component of the wider view of physical anthropology.

Although a seemingly unrelated topic, crime is interrelated to physical anthropology through the same study of human behavior. While physical anthropology looks broadly into basic human behavioral analysis, forensic anthropologists look more closely at how the remains of a crime victim or perpetrator can explain specific human actions, such as which weapons and body parts were used. The task of simply discovering how an individual died can offer incredible aide to criminal investigations into both individuals and groups.

Death can offer as many answers as life when it comes to the study of humans. It can even seem that a skeleton can often be even more revealing than living humans. This is due to the fact that a skeleton lacks the ability to hide and/or manipulate information. In other words, a skeleton does not lie. Every curve, line, and ridge of a skeleton tells a story of the individual it belonged to, both biologically and socially.

Disease is an inevitably large component within the study of the human biological system. Among many things, disease can lead to immigration, mutation, and most commonly death. Thus the study of disease can uncover numerous insights into human health, movement, and behavior. Forensic anthropologists can work with forensic pathologists to discover causes of disease, susceptibility to disease, efforts to avoid disease, and consequences of disease. With this information, it is possible to enhance the studies of physical anthropology from a viewpoint of pathology.

Looking more closely into the human skeleton, and individual’s teeth can tell a large amount of information on an individual’s biology. For this reason, forensic anthropologists often work with odontologists in an effort to uncover many things such as disease patterns, health issues, and the level of decay of a corpse. This is an example of the many details that forensic anthropologists can uncover information from.


“ABFA – American Board of Forensic Anthropology.” ABFA. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 July 2016.

One thought on “Blog One: ABFA

  1. Hi Melany,
    First off I thought your blog on ABFA was very well written. I had one question, you said ABFA is a certification website in forensic anthropology what exactly do they certify?
    I really liked your line where you said “death can offer as many answers as life…” I thought that was really well put and spot on to how forensic anthropologist and archaeologist view remains! And really good point on how bones do not lie. I think that would be a huge problem with cultural anthropologist, dealing with live people and bias has to be difficult. Compared to bones where it is just hypothesis and then data to try and back up the hypothesis.
    I also wrote a little bit about diseases and anthropology, I used genetic anthropology, and based on what I found and reading your blog it seems as though anthropology can provide huge amounts of insight into diseases!
    Cool choice in organization and again very well written.

    Cassie Larrivee

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