Forensic anthropology is the study of skeletal or evidentiary remains in relation to a case in a court of law. Anthropology is the study of human beings in both as an animalistic (physical) form as well as the study of social and habits of humans, usually by a process of examination of physical remains. Forensic refers to any of a given number of sciences used in the process of an investigation or proceeding before a court of law. Forensic anthropology has a long history dating back to the mid sixteenth century, but like most fields, recent advances in technology have propelled forensic anthropology to a whole new level.
Forensic anthropology is normally used when evidentiary remains are found that indicate a crime did or may have occurred. Sometimes, when old buildings are torn down or when old sections of a town are converted for whatever purpose remains will be found among the ruins. Forensic anthropologists are brought in to thoroughly investigate the scene. With the use of forensic anthropology, they can often determine whether or not a crime was committed, and if there was in fact a crime, forensic anthropology can then be used to solve it. While much of what is commonly seen on television is as much fantasy as it is reality, many aspects of forensic anthropology are growing exponentially.
Many new chemicals have aided in the growth of forensic anthropology. Chemicals help forensic anthropologists to do their job better and more effectively by helping them to gather and study evidence. There are chemicals for the illumination of bodily fluids, chemicals which define chemical components of evidence, chemicals that cleanse and chemicals that aid in many other ways in the field of forensic anthropology. As science progresses, so too will the assistance available in the field of forensic anthropology.
Advances in microscopic technology have also helped in the advancement of forensic anthropology. Microscopes can help the forensic anthropologist to define the minutest details in regards to a crime scene. Whether the particles are of a particular type of dust, plant or other matter, in many cases of forensic anthropology, this can place certain individuals at given locations often during specific time periods. This has been used in many civil and criminal cases scoring many court room victories which are credited to those individuals involved in the field of forensic anthropology.
Advances in science and technology are constantly improving the tools available in the field of forensic anthropology. These are very exciting times for the forensic anthropologist.