The Utility of Forensic Anthropology in the Medical Examiner's Office

Christian M. Crowder, Jason M. Wiersema, Bradley J. Adams, Dana E. Austin, Jennifer C. Love

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Over the past few decades, the field of forensic anthropology has seen major advancements and experienced a considerable growth of professionals in medical examiner/coroner offices. Despite this expansion, misconceptions regarding the role and utility of the anthropologist in the medicolegal setting still exist. This article brings together practitioners employed full-time in four medical examiner's offices, with each practitioner providing a unique perspective and emphasis regarding their role as an anthropologist. Discussed is the history of the anthropology division in each office as well as the types of casework and ancillary duties completed by the anthropologists. Consistently, the anthropologists are involved in the search and recovery of human remains, managing long-term unidentified cases, facilitating disposition of unclaimed decedents, and developing mass disaster protocols for their respective agency. Also consistent across the four offices is the fact that the anthropologists receive far more consult requests for trauma evaluation of nonskeletonized cases than any other type of case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-360
Number of pages12
JournalAcademic Forensic Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Forensic anthropology
  • Forensic pathology
  • Medical examiner office
  • Trauma analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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