Thursday, 2 July 2015

7 Major Things Your Skeleton Can Reveal About You

Its amazing what bones can reveal about the identity of an individual. Basically, bones make up the skeletal system which supports the whole body mass. Certain  features collectively known as biological profile can be determined or estimated from  human skeletal bones to a high degree of accuracy.
The determination of these features can help in the identification of unknown victims of gruesome murders with access to just their skeletal remains.

Osteologist and Anthropologist are the key experts in this field of bone study and analysis. The features are:
1. ANCESTRY
The bones can reveal whether they are of human or animal origins. Normally, species-specific tests are carried for such purposes.

2. SEX
There are certain bone features that are characteristic to either a male or female such as the pelvic region and size of the skull. Mitochondrial DNA(DeoxyriboNucleic Acids) analysis which is a most reliable method can be carried out as well.
Generally, the shape of the male pelvis is high and narrow while that of the female is shallower, wider and has a larger outlet(possibly suitable for child bearing)

3. STATURE
This involves determining the height of the Individual in question. Mostly, the long bones of the legs and arms such as the femur and humerus bones respectively, are used to calculate and estimate the height of the individual.
Also, assuming the whole skeleton is available, direct measurement is more easily carried out than when  the skeleton is fragmented into smaller bone pieces.


4. AGE
Age estimation depends mainly on how ossification (replacement of cartilages with bones during baby-to-adult growth) sites are formed on the bones. Bones grow at different stages from childhood to adulthood. This growth process leave visible marks at the end of certain years which makes them useful in estimating age.
Difficulty using this method arises from around age 35 and above. Bones commonly used in this analysis are femur(thigh bone), tibia etc.

5. RACE
Probably the most relatively difficult feature to identify. This is whether the individual is Caucasian(in the Americas and Europe), Mongoloid(mainly Asia) or Negroid(Africa). The skull is often the most reliable feature used. It uses some distinguishing features that is specific to a particular race such as shape and size of either the frontals, center or back of the skull.

6. DENTITION
This generally refers to the structure and arrangement of teeth. Teeth are hardly affected by environmental factors or even fire. This makes them invaluable in identification. An odontologist (an expert in  teeth medication, physiology and morphology) is often brought in to carry out the analysis.
This method is very useful when there are ante mortem(before death) records to compare with.

7 DISEASE
Some diseases leave apparent  marks or prints on bones of victims. This can be revealed by medical pathologist who uses such information to compare with health records to determine whether identity of the skeletal remains matches a known medical record. The sole intention is to positively match the skeletal remain to an individual.
Diseases such as Osteoporosis, Rickets, Green Stick fracture, Osteoarthritis and bone tumor leave their imprints on skeletons.