Forensic Anthropologist

14 05 2010

Anthropology is the science of human zoology, evolution, and ecology according to the dictionary. Forensic Anthropologists apply the science of physical anthropology to the legal process. They identify skeletal human remains

Anthropologists…

  • Search and recover human remains
  • Estimate the time since death
  • Does osteological analyses to establish the biological profile of the victim
  • Does pathology assessment from human skeletal remains to figure about if the victim had a trauma or a disease

(From www.all-about-forensic-science.com)

Forensic anthropologists are called in for death investigation. In solving the crime, anthropologists’ main goal is to create a biological profile. They do so by examining human remains. They use their expertise in doing human skeletal anatomy to do their part of the investigation. The profile, which serves as a critical evidence, is given to the police. They also calculate the recency of the remains that will be used to see how they fit into the general context of the crime scene. They are sometimes called to distinguish the human remains from non-human remains. It is told by people who experienced it that the smell and the sight of decomposing human is just unbearable.

The skull is the most diagnostic area for building a biological profile. The biological profile includes age, sex, ancestor, height, and whether the deceases had a disease. When creating a biological profile of a human being, first you determine the sex of the victim. You will have to examine the brow ridges to figure out the sex. Females’ tend to be less robust than males’. You can also look at the rear of the skull. There is this bun looking region there. This is also more robust in males. The cranial suchers, the top of the skull, can help determine the age of the deceased. The older the person gets, the cranial suchers become diffused together more tightly. The teeth can be also used. If one has the third molar, it indicates that that person was an adult. DNA is also preserved in teeth better than in bones. However, when dealing with forensics, hair, tissue, skin, and other parts of the body will be more useful in DNA analysis.

This video explains what I have explained above about skeleton analysis in depth.

Forensic anthropologists do not work full time, because they mostly work with colleges and provide consultation. Almost all of them are professors of biological or physical anthropology with Ph.Ds. If you are considering to become a forensic anthropologist, you should look at this aspect of the job and reconsider.

An anthropologist integrate many other subjects to do their job. They need to know osteology, which includes skeletal anatomy and biology, in details. They also need to know bits of biology, archaeology, genetics, and cultural aspects. To become a forensic anthropologist, Undergrad majors in Human Biology or Physical Anthropology are recommended. Physical Anthropology is preferred. You will need to cover hominid physiology, anatomy, and other anthropology classes. Then, obtaining masters degree is your next step. Ph.D specializing in forensic anthropology is preferred. Becoming a forensic anthropologist is a long tiring career. One has to withstand the smell and the pain of seeing a decomposing human being. In the United States, there are only about 150 active forensic anthropologists. However, it is rewarding.

The forensic anthropologists earn $40,000 to $50,000 if they have MA/MS degree. If they have a Ph.D, they earn about $60,000 to $85,000. However, it mostly depends on your skills, experience, and responsibility, like all other forensic jobs. You have to constantly work hard to get this job.

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Forensic Photographer

16 03 2010

When you see crime scenes on TV, you can see people taking pictures here and there.

Photography is simply an art of taking and processing photographs. However, FORENSIC photography is a little bit different. Forensic Photography is an art of reproducing an accurate image of the crime scene for the laboratory and the court.

Forensic Photographers take pictures of…

  • Crime scenes
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Bitemarks
  • Weapons
  • Trace evidence
  • Autopsy procedures

(From www.all-about-forensic-science.com)

Forensic Photographers help out the process of investigation by supporting the laboratory by documenting and enhancing the evidence. You should not think that it is an easy job of just taking random pictures of the crime scene. Documentation of evidence is extremely important in the whole process of investigation. If the photographer misses an evidence, that changes the fate of the victim. You need a high level of responsibility to do this work. The most important things that the photographer should take pictures of are bloodstains and cuts. The overall picture of all evidence collected together are taken, and important evidences are taken as closeups. The important evidence is, as I said, the bloodstains and cuts.

Also, the forensic photographers require special techniques. Sometimes, the evidence is too small that photomacrography, a technique using bellows to increase magnification, has to come into place. There are lots of other techniques, including alternate spectrums, which is a technique used to see evidences in different lights in order to see them in a most clear state, and using infrared film for gun shot residue on clothing.

Like all most of other forensic jobs, you need a strong stomach. Sometimes, you will have to take pictures of victims that are very inhumanely distorted due to an attack. Also, you need to know the court procedure, for you are the one who will be presenting the evidence to the jury.

In order to perform all the special tricks, it is best if you major in photography. You will get to encounter advanced technology as you take pictures at crime scenes, since you will always have the best equipment. And yes, the equipment costs a lot. However, since it is an important job that requires a good quality, you need to be ready to invest that money.

This is a video that helps us understand what the career in forensic photography really is.





How much money do forensic scientists, in general, earn a year?

15 03 2010

Even though you might say that money isn’t the most important thing in life, money is very important. This is why many people are interested in the average amount of money that they can earn when they get employed to do a specific job.

This video is not the most exciting video, but it is very informative. It says that the forensic scientists earn $30000 per year on average. However, it may vary depending on your job in the forensic field. You will get more salary depending on your job, area, experience, etc.

This video also tells us what you should do to become a forensic scientist. You can major in biology, chemistry, criminology, or even law. There are people specializing in many different fields. I know that it is little compared to other jobs people can do when they major in the same subjects. You can earn more money as a pathologist than a forensic pathologist, you can earn more money as a physicist than a forensic physicist, and you can earn more money as a biologist than a forensic biologist.

Go here to find out specific details about forensic science.





Forensic Pathologist

3 03 2010

Pathology is the study of disease. Forensic Pathologists are specialists in medical field concerned with pathology that focuses on the investigation of sudden or unexpected death of victims.

The pathologists …

  • Determine cause of death
  • Do forensic examination of the body
  • Identify absence/presence of disease from tissue samples
  • Examine post mortem wounds and injuries
  • Collect evidence to give to criminalists, toxicologists, or others for specialist analysis
  • Carry out investigation with other speicialists
  • Act as an expert witness in civil or criminal proceedings

(From www.all-about-forensic-science.com)

Out of all the things pathologists do, the most important thing is examining patterns of injury to figure out the cause of the victim’s death. They conduct an autopsy to figure out what happened to the victims of crimes. Above, is a picture of actual forensic pathologists conducting an autopsy. Autopsy is a postmortem examination done to discover the cause of death. Yes, it is a little disgusting for commoners to look at :(, but this is what they do! This is why you need a strong stomach! You will be encountering numerous rotting corpses. I think there is no job that is makes you sicker than forensic pathologist.

Forensic pathologists spend their day performing autopsies, gaining data from investigating officers, and testifying at the court. It is very rare for a pathologist to visit a crime scene, even though some may visit sometimes. Besides working to solve the mystery of the crime, forensic pathologists also examine patterns of injury in the living . This is important in saving people’s lives and in increasing the possibility later developments of cure.

If you want to become a forensic pathologist, you should take courses to meet prerequisites for med school. You do not necessarily have to major in science, though you are encouraged to take biochemistry and psychology.

In order to become a forensic pathologist, you need four years of college education(gain a bachelor’s degree), four years of medical school education(gain MD), four or five years of residency, and 1 or 2 years of forensic pathology fellowship. It takes minimum thirteen years, after high school graduation, to become a forensic pathologist. You will be over 30 years old by then! 😮 If you want to be a forensic pathologist, you should really rethink if you are not the person who wants to study as long as they studied in elementary, middle, and high school.

Even though you have to suffer a lot to become a forensic pathologist, it will be rewarding. The hours will be better than other physicians, and you will never be bored at work! Pay is not that great compared to other physicians though. You will make about $60,000 to $180,000 depending on your skills, experience, area, and responsibility.