Learning Modules are sets of materials from real forensic cases used to help describe morphologies and damages useful in forensic anthropology. The skeletons presented within these modules are from unidentified individuals.
Estimation of age at death is an important component to the reconstruction of life of a skeleton. In archaeology, knowing the age of death of individuals can infer much about an ancient civilization in terms of health, disease, and sacrifice. Likewise, in forensics cases, the age of an individual is crucial to correct identification.
The long bones of the arm and leg, either in their entirety or as fragments, can be used to estimate the height of an individual. Height estimations are variable by population and age, and can be an important factor in identification of remains.
Taphonomy refers to postmortem damage of a bone due to exposure to various natural and animal forces. Individuals placed below or above ground will often be scarred or marked, and sometimes even broken, because of the environmental processes to which they are subjected. Some of those forces include animal activity, burial damage, fire damage, mineral absorption, and weathering, to name a few.