Taphonomy

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Taphonomy is the fascinating science of the study of human remains after death. It has been used both as an anthropological sense such as “the Ice Man” from 5300 years ago and King Tut’s remains from 1343 BC. It is also useful as a forensic tool. Anthropologists, archaeologists, botanists, naturalists and climatologists are all team players involved in the process. The key questions that anthropologists must answer are: a. Are the bones from an animal or a human? b. If human, what are the approximate age, race, gender, and stature of the individual? c. Have scavenging animals disarticulated the body or damaged bones? d. If there are defects in the body assemblage, were they caused by premortem or postmortem events? e. What effects have plants, animals, weather, and climate had on the body over time? References Lynch, Virginia A. and Duval, Janet Barber. (2006). Forensic Nursing. St. Louis: Elsevier Mosby

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