Anthropological Views

Anthropologists can help identify a deceased from his or her skeletal remains bearing characteristics of ancestry, sex, stature, age and trauma. Conduct a couple of visual comparison techniques, explore Liliana Pereyra's case, and get a glimpse into the work of three anthropologists.

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Learning from bones

Bones bear numerous clues that who cane help anthropologists determine who the person was and how they died. When deciphered, these cluses may serve as evidence in a courtroom.

Biological sex

Take a close look at these two skulls. Compare the different views of the two—especially the areas marked. Do you see any differences that help you identify the sex of each skull? Now click on the male or female button and see if you got it right! View hints.

New York City Medical Examiner's Collection, National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C.

Ancestry

Skulls bear various characteristics that provide clues about the person's ancestry/race to experienced anthropologists. Now take a close look at the frontal and profile views of the nose area (nasal bone, opening, spine and sill) and guess the ancestry of this person. View hints.

A: Nasal opening
B: Nasal sill
C: Nasal bone
D: Nasal spine

New York City Medical Examiner's Collection, National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C.

Bullet entry and exit wound

There is a clear distinction between entry and exit wounds made by a bullet. Take a close look at each wound, and determine which is the entry wound and which is the exit. View hints.

New York City Medical Examiner's Collection, National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C.

Liliana's story

Justice for Liliana Pereyra, who disappeared in 1976 in Argentina, was served in April 1985 after the truth about her disappearance and death was unearthed by Clyde Snow and a small group of Argentinean anthropology and medical students in 1984.

Liliana Pereyra

Liliana Pereyra's Case: Learn about Liliana's story and those who worked to bring justice for her.

Liliana Pereyra

Family of Liliana Pereyra; American Association for the Advancement of Science Archives

El Salvador

Bones as Witnesses: Listen to Dr. Snow's account of his work in Argentina and on other international human rights cases.

Excavation of a mass grave

Mercedes Doretti, EAAF

Anthropologists

Here, three anthropologists share their experiences in convicting military dictators, working with a museum collection, and identifying disaster victims as their findings are made available for cultural, legal, or scientific purposes.

Lenore Barbian, Ph.D. working with the specimens in the collections of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
Lenore Barbian, Ph.D. (92KB, PDF) working with the specimens in the collections of the National Museum of Health and Medicine.
Paul Sledzik, MS, in southern Sudan to help identify victims of a helicopter accident
Paul Sledzik, MS (75KB, PDF) working in southern Sudan to help identify victims of a helicopter accident.
Clyde Snow with young Argentinean volunteers, about 1985
Clyde Snow, Ph.D., with a group of Argentinian university students.
Courtesy of Clyde Snow

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