Talk:Forensic anthropology

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Something should be added about how the race determination is becoming obsolete or pointless. It's generalization about where ancestors came from...I dunno. I heard several lectures about this, but mostly what stuck in my head was something about diaspora. Ductapedaredevil 16:41, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I disagree, ancestry determination is a very vital part of Forensic Anthropology. Sustentacular 00:42, 31 January 2007 (UTC)sustentacular

I agree with Ductapedaredevil on racial determination becoming obsolete. Seeing as race is a cultural construct, not a physical manifestation, a skull is not an accurate portrayal of one's ethnic heritage. Jlskiba (talk) 20:40, 2 November 2010 (UTC)jlskiba 4:39, 2 November 2010

The idea of discrete races is a cultural construct, however, there is no denying that individuals with similar ancestral backgrounds (note, ancestry and ethnicity are different things) have similar skeletal features, most notably in the skull. Since "race" is something that society continually uses to describe people it stands to reason that when providing a biological profile to help identify a decedent that at least a vague racial category should be provided when possible. Not in the interest of perpetuating the idea of discrete races but to aid in the identification of unknown skeletal remains. Sustentacular 7:31 2 November 2010 (UTC)sustentacular

What are the best current sources on the issue? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 23:52, 2 November 2010 (UTC) Sustentacular 8:51 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Agree with Sustentacular. - Boneyard90 (talk) 22:59, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Notable Forensic Anthropologists[edit]

I have added some FA's whose absence was glaringly obvious - Suchey and Brooks being the main ones. I also think that because there are so many Diplomates on the ABFA website that we should move away from chronological order and into alphabetical order - anyone object???

I also think we should include FA worldwide - maybe mentioning the role of FA in ICTY?

to whoever: please stop adding faafs to jerry melbye's name. the majority of the people on that list are aafs fellows, theres no need to add it to just his name.

Notability is decided by the wikipedia standards. We cannot include all notable forensic anthropologists, or even establish particular criteria fr what makes a forensic anthropologist notable - for this reason we will have to limit to forensic anthropologists that have articles, just like we do in all other lists.·Maunus·ƛ· 01:05, 7 April 2011 (UTC)


I intend to add a section regarding techniques used when i have a minute to scan in some pics.

Carlos Zambrano?[edit]

I am just here to find out about Forensic Anthropology, but in the first paragraph it read: " One of the leading Forensic anthropologist today is Carlos Zambrano who is one of the inspirations behind the thrilling TV series Bones."

Shouldn't it be Kathy Reichs?

And the link to Carlos Zambrano brings me to a baseball pitcher. His age was also stated as (1700-2008).

I wonder if there is really such a notable forensic anthropologist, or did someone edit the page by mistake. I'll leave it to the experts. Okami ningen83 (talk) 05:00, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

It's a joke, don't worry about it. ~ Sustentacular (talk) 23:05, 10 June 2008 (UTC)sustentacular

Reliable secondary sources on this subject?[edit]

Does anyone have a citations to validation studies on how well forensic antropologists actually categorize discovered skulls or other human remains in tests with human remains of known provenance? I see the article is tagged as needing more sources, and this is one important issue related to the topic of the article. More generally, are there sources like those listed on the Anthropology and Human Biology Citations page, posted in userspace for all wikipedians to share, that have to do with the specifically forensic issues in anthropology? You can help other Wikipedians by suggesting new sources through comments on that page. It will be extremely helpful for articles on human genetics to edit them according to the Wikipedia standards for reliable sources for medicine-related articles, as it is important to get these issues as well verified as possible. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 03:14, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

List of anthropologists[edit]

Look, at wikipedia we have WP:V which requires that every piece of information is verifiable and sourced to reliable source. If information is not soiurced to a reliable source then it can be removed on sight. I am removing these names 1. because it is not sourced that they are forensic anthropolgists. 2. because it is not sourced that they are notable. In wikipedia notable of academics is determined by the criteria WP:ACADEMICS if you can supply a source that shows that each of these names are notable according to WP:ACADEMIC then the names can be included even if they don't have an article. ·Maunus·ƛ· 02:32, 7 April 2011 (UTC)


The narrative and examples are almost entirely from the U.S. It would be good to expand the coverage to the rest of the world. Cusop Dingle (talk) 17:18, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Notable forensic anthropologists[edit]

This list seems in bad shape. I can find no indication in the articles concerned that the following were forsensic anthropologists: Thomas Dwight, Aleš Hrdlička, Earnest Hooton, Wilton M. Krogman, Kewal Krishan. Are there any references to support this list? Cusop Dingle (talk) 16:53, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Globalize/North America tag[edit]

As others have mentioned before, the article is almost entirely about the USA and Canada. It needs to be expanded to cover other countries and continents and represent the subject globally. Otherwise I suggest moving the article to a title of Forensic anthropology in North America. FonsScientiae (talk) 21:45, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

A move is premature and unnecessarily divisive. I agree that the article would benefit from more information regarding the field's history and application in other countries. To that end I would add:
Thank you for your suggestion regarding Forensic anthropology. When you believe an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the edit this page link at the top.
The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. You don't even need to log in (although there are many reasons why you might want to). Boneyard90 (talk) 00:12, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

I would love to edit but unfortunately I am not an expert on the field. I do not understand why a move would be divisive till there is more global information. FonsScientiae (talk) 17:56, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
I would like to add on to it, but I'm pressed for time with non-Wiki matters at the moment, and besides, what knowledge I have concerns the US anyway, though I understand that Guatemala and Chile have respectable forensic departments now. The move you want to make would be divisive, or rather polarizing, because anybody searching for "Forensic anthropology" would be directed to a page titled "Forensic anthropology in North America", suggesting that the entire field of FA was synonymous with FA in NA. As it is, we have an incomplete article, rather than a hijacked subject. Boneyard90 (talk) 19:00, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
You are right and I never questioned that forensic anthropology existed in other countries. The NA tag has to remain for the current version till you or someone else adds on more global material.
As for mentioning 'race' twice in the article I have some objections. The AAA has released an official statement years ago: "During the past 50 years, 'race' has been scientifically proven to not be a real, natural phenomenon. More specific, social categories such as 'ethnicity' or 'ethnic group' are more salient for scientific purposes and have fewer of the negative, racist connotations for which the concept of race was developed. (...) Eventually these [racial] classifications must be transcended and replaced by more non-racist and accurate ways of representing the diversity of the U.S. population."(source) The term 'race' in Canada is not used, Canada classifies people according to ethnicity and membership of 'visible minority'. As for other countries, 'race' is either not used or has completely different meaning than in then USA. For example in Europe, where I live, it is strongly associated with laws proclaimed by the Nazi and Fascist governments in Europe during the 20th century. Reading this article an international audience may think that the term is scientifically well-founded and that it is used globally within the field as a legitimate concept. I believe using a more neutral word 'ethnicity' or 'population group' would be more appropriate. FonsScientiae (talk) 19:45, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Physical anthropologists were voted down at that AAA meeting 50 years ago. Some physical anthropologists retained usage of the term "race" for much of that time, though it has become an increasingly contentious issue, and many phys. anthropologists, in my opinion, have become worn down by the other fields. There are still a minority that say that "racial research" is not "racist research". There is also research to suggest many "racial" traits found in the bones came from faulty research, but the reports are fairly few, and there is an obvious agenda behind them. Many forensic anthropologists still call it "race", some use the same tables to determine "race" but then call it something else ("ancestral background", for example). There is the similar problem with sex versus gender. The latter is proclaimed by the individual and is culturally constructed (a transvestite may identify as a "woman", for example), but the bones tell me the sex is "male". But to return to the issue, yes, the "race" concept is problematic here in the US, and is associated with racist laws and social discrimination, mostly (I hope) in the past. As for the article, "ethnicity" isn't quite right because that incorporates language and culture, which of course you can't tell from bones. Would you prefer to substitute "race" with "predominant geographical ancestry"? Boneyard90 (talk) 01:20, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that would be perfect. Or what do you think about just "geographic ancestry", "ancestral population", or "geographical phenotype"? As I know concepts as 'pure' and 'mixed' ancestry are problematic to work with as each person has different degrees of ancestry from different geographic areas so adding 'predominant' to the term may be necessary. Please use a term which you feel mostly suits its usage here. FonsScientiae (talk) 20:50, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I'll look over the article and see if I can make some changes in the next day or two.Boneyard90 (talk) 03:08, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, so can you please make the modifications which we have agreed on? FonsScientiae (talk) 08:36, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, of course. Terribly sorry about the delay. I made modifications to all points where "race" was discussed, besides trying to generally clean it up. Once I took a look, I realized the format was a bit of a mess. Hope that takes care of the article, at least until someone with broader knowledge on an international scope can come along and add to it. Boneyard90 (talk) 12:58, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Fictional anthropologists?[edit]

I notice that someone has added Temperance "Bones" Brennan to the list of notable anthropologists. Do we have any feeling or policy here about adding fictional characters to a list of notable people? --MelanieN (talk) 18:37, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

I saw that too, was about to remove it, but then paused as not sure. I don't know if there is a policy or guideline that suggests one way or the other but it needs at least to be clearly delineated as a fictional character. There are also two others listed as notable but are red until those articles exist, perhaps they should be removed.--MONGO 18:46, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
I couldn't find any guideline. I was also not sure about Bones, but she might well be more notable than many real-life scientists. My hunch is to keep her but flag her as fictional. As to the red links, I agree and will remove them.--MelanieN (talk) 19:23, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
The appropriate guideline is at Wikipedia:"In popular culture" content. Many articles do contain a "Cultural references" section, and "Bones" along with any other forensic anthropologists in movies, books, video games, or TV shows would go there. - Boneyard90 (talk) 15:07, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
I hope no-one minds, but I took the liberty of making the change. However, I can't think of any other forensic anthropologists in pop culture. I don't watch C.S.I or some of the other police dramas, and while I'm sure at least one Law & Order episode must have had a F.A., I can't think of the episode(s). - Boneyard90 (talk) 15:14, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, that is the perfect solution. --MelanieN (talk) 17:39, 9 October 2014 (UTC)