Forensic Anthropology

Forensic pathologists, or medical examiners, are specially trained physicians who examine the bodies of people who died suddenly, unexpectedly or violently. The forensic pathologist is responsible for determining the cause (the ultimate and immediate reasons for the cessation of life) and manner of death (homicide, suicide, accidental, natural or unknown).

To determine the identity of the victim and the time, manner and cause of death, the forensic pathologist:

  • Studies the medical history
  • Evaluates crime scene evidence including witness statements
  • Performs an autopsy to uncover evidence of injury or disease
  • Collects medical and trace evidence from the body for further analysis

In addition to anatomy, the forensic pathologist may draw upon specialized knowledge and training in:

  • Toxicology
  • Firearms/ballistics
  • Trace evidence
  • Serology (blood analysis)
  • DNA technology

They also ensure that procedures regarding evidence collection are followed, and coordinate their work with law enforcement operations.

 

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