Course Description

“The Human Skeleton in Forensic Anthropology and Medicine: An Introduction to Our Bones” is a newly-structured live workshop/webinar that provides an introductory knowledge of forensic anthropology and the human skeleton. This workshop will focus on the basics of the human skeleton, how to compile a biological profile consisting of age at death, ancestry (race), biological sex, and stature. The workshop will also discuss skeletal trauma, bone disease, minimum number of individuals (MNI), taphonomy, the “CSI effect” and methods of personal identification using actual cases that the instructor has worked on and examples in the JABSOM bone lab.

The webinar will be broadcast live from the JABSOM Bone Lab at the University of Hawaii. Most modules/topics will begin with a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation followed by a 30-minute discussion with real human bones in the JABSOM lab. The instructor will utilize known-identity human skeletons in the Willed Body Program. Workshop participants will be provided online instruction and encouraged to submit their comments and questions to the instructor through a live chat room. There will be real-time exercises such as “skeletal show and tell” where the participants will be asked to identify (in the chat) some aspect of a bone(s) or an actual forensic case. The workshop will include several forensic anthropology cases that the instructor has worked on to illustrate the topic discussed (e.g., recovery, identification, trauma). Participants who successfully complete the webinar will receive a certificate of completion.

No continuing education or academic hours will be given for this webinar.

Course Outline

Day 1 – Forensic Anthropology, the Human Skeleton and The Big 4

  • Introduction to forensic anthropology: From recovery to identification (“The Ewa Mummy”)
  • An overview of the human skeleton
  • “Skeletal show and tell”
  • “The Big 4” and Establishing the Biological Profile (age, sex, ancestry and stature from bones)

Day 2 – Bone Disease, Skeletal Trauma, Taphonomy, and CSI    

  • Bone disease
  • Skeletal trauma: Antemortem, Perimortem and Postmortem and why does it matter?
  • Taphonomy and Elapsed Time Since Death: Life after death
  • The CSI effect and “Is that real or just reality TV?”

Day 3 – Pulling it All Together: Forensic Case Reports

  • PowerPoint case reports: The Last Camp Site (what the bones and evidence tell us; A man and His Cats (taphonomy and time since death); A Florida floater (cold case and trauma); The Body in the Elevator (be careful with your interpretations); Is That An Arm or A Leg?: My First Forensic Anthropology Case
  • Ask the anthropologist (Q&A)
  • Closing

Order of topics subject to change.

Learner Outcomes

By the end of this webinar, participants should have a basic understanding of:

  • Forensic anthropology from recovery (archaeology) to identification (forensic anthropology).
  • How to examine and handle human remains.
  • Skeletal disease, trauma, MNI, stature, and methods of personal identification.
  • Taphonomy and elapsed time since death.
  • What’s real in “reality tv” and the role of reality tv in forensic anthropology.


Suggested reference books include:
  • “The Bone Book: A Photographic Lab Manual for Identifying and Siding Human Bones,” by Robert W. Mann, Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, 2017.
  • “Forensic Detective: How I Cracked the World’s Toughest Cases,” by Robert W. Mann, Random House Publishers, New York, 2006.
Enroll now - Select a section
Section Title
The Human Skeleton in Forensic Anthropology
M, T, W
8:30AM to 11:30AM
Aug 02, 2021 to Aug 04, 2021
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
Course Fee(s)
Fee non-credit $199.00
Potential Discount(s) or Surcharge(s)
Section Notes

Indicated course times are 8.30am-11.30am Hawaii Standard Time (HST).

The course will be held via Zoom. Before joining a Zoom meeting on a computer or mobile device, you can download the Zoom app from the Zoom Download Center. Otherwise, you will be prompted to download and install Zoom when you click on the link, which will be provided to you prior to the online seminar. You will also receive a digit-number (Meeting ID) and password, which are necessary to join the online classroom.

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