A forensic anthropologist analyzes human remains in order to determine the characteristics of a person, which may lead to their identification. The remains being dealt with are often just skeletal. The job involves a high amount of scientific knowledge and problem-solving skills.
The forensic anthropologist performs much of the work independently, so it is important to be self-motivated and able to adhere to time constraints. However, teamwork skills are also important, as the forensic anthropologist may often work together with homicide investigators, other forensic anthropologists, and forensic odontologists. The team works together in order to determine how long the person has been dead and what trauma was involved. A forensic anthropologist does not always work in crime situations. Sometimes, the forensic anthropologist may determine characteristics of very old skeletal remains, in order to gain more knowledge about the cultures of the past.
The job is usually carried out in a lab environment. However, the forensic anthropologist may often have to go to a crime scene to help to recover the human remains. Public speaking skills may come in handy, as the forensic anthropologist may have to speak in court about the findings. To become a forensic anthropologist, board certification is required, which may require many years of studying. Generally, a bachelor’s and master’s degree in anthropology is necessary, although a PhD in physical anthropology is sometimes preferred.
Forensic Anthropologist Tasks
Gather, analyze and report data addressing human physique, social customs, artifacts, sociolinguistics, personalities, or societies.
May apply anthropological data to solving current problems.
Comparatively study the origin, evolution, race, distribution, and the physical, cultural, and social development of human beings and cultures.