Anthropology, University of Montana
Saturday All day, Clinch Concourse
Ancestry identification in forensic anthropology is vital for the medico-legal field. Forensic anthropologists have long sought to develop ancestry determination methods using complete and fragmented skeletal elements. Ancestry is most commonly assessed using cranial traits. Post-cranial methods for identifying individuals are needed in the field because cranial elements are broken and incomplete. Examining other elements can increase the likelihood of identification of the individual in question. Eugene Marino developed a method for estimating ancestry from eight measurements of the superior and inferior articular surfaces and vertebral foramen of the atlas from individuals of European and African descent. These specimens were from the Terry and Hamann-Todd collections. This study applies Marino’s method to post-1950s individuals who are self-classified as Hispanic, Caucasian, and, African-American. Two hundred and fourteen specimens were measured from the William Bass Skeletal Collection, the Pima County, Arizona’s Coroner’s Office, and the Maxwell Museum at the University of New Mexico. Each measurement was obtained using sliding calipers. The measurements taken from this study were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to establish a discriminant function that distinguishes Hispanic individuals from members of other populations. The analysis supports Marino’s results in prediction of African-Americans and Whites with 60-72% accuracy. This study also concludes that a discriminant function to predict ancestry between African-Americans and Hispanics with a 69-72% accuracy. This study concludes that the atlas can be used with a relatively accurate prediction to determine ancestry of Hispanics.