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Demographic Change and Forensic Identification: Problems in Metric Identification of Hispanic Skeletons

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The United States (U.S.) population structure is currently in a state of flux with one of the most profound changes being the increasing number of people referred to as Hispanic. In the U.S., much of the identification criteria for a biological profile are based on American Black and White individuals from anatomical collections. Using metric data from the Forensic Anthropology Data Bank (FDB), this paper will attempt to explore several issues that forensic anthropologists face when confronted with Hispanic remains. These will involve estimation of sex, height, and ancestry, the initial components of a biological profile. Discriminant function analyses indicate that American White criteria provide poor estimations of sex when applied to Hispanics and that ancestry estimation of Hispanic crania is difficult. Additionally, a new linear regression equation is presented that estimates stature for Hispanic individuals, although population specific criteria are still needed for Hispanic individuals from diverse geographical origins.
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Keywords: Hispanic; ancestry; forensic anthropology; forensic science; sex; stature

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, The University of Tennessee, 250 South Stadium Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996. 2: Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatémala (FAFG), Avenida Simón Cañas 10 64, Zona 2, 01002 Ciudad de Guatémala, Guatémala.

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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