Evidentiary Standards for Forensic Anthropology*

Authors


  • *

    Presented at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 18–23, 2008, in Washington, DC.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Angi M. Christensen, Ph.D.
FBI Laboratory, Trace Evidence Unit
2501 Investigation Parkway
Quantico, VA 22135
E-mail: angi.christensen@ic.fbi.gov

Abstract

Abstract:  As issues of professional standards and error rates continue to be addressed in the courts, forensic anthropologists should be proactive by developing and adhering to professional standards of best practice. There has been recent increased awareness and interest in critically assessing some of the techniques used by forensic anthropologists, but issues such as validation, error rates, and professional standards have seldom been addressed. Here we explore the legal impetus for this trend and identify areas where we can improve regarding these issues. We also discuss the recent formation of a Scientific Working Group for Forensic Anthropology (SWGANTH), which was created with the purposes of encouraging discourse among anthropologists and developing and disseminating consensus guidelines for the practice of forensic anthropology. We believe it is possible and advisable for anthropologists to seek and espouse research and methodological techniques that meet higher standards to ensure quality and consistency in our field.

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