I’m currently working on a couple of book reviews that I hope to have up later in the week. In the meantime, I stumbled across this interesting story concerning forensic anthropology. According to the report a humerus, radius, and ulna were found as construction workers were demolishing a house. From the article:
A forensic anthropology team from Mercyhurst College, Erie, spent several hours Thursday evening excavating the property at 103 Shenango St. but found no more bones or evidence related to them, team leader Dr. Steve Symes said Friday.
“It seems to be an isolated find,” he said, adding they also searched a nearby Dumpster and truck containing demolition debris.
That is all they found. There are several mysteries here. First, where did the arm come from? According to the article, no one has a clue. Second, what can we learn about the person the arm belonged to? The answer to this question is not much. The head of the humerus can be used, much like the head of the femur, to determine gender although it is not as reliable. There are also a number of regression equations for estimating stature, but they too, are not as reliable as using the femur. Additionally, most are dependent on knowing the ethnicity of the individual who’s stature is being estimated.
Filed under: Forensic Anthropology