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Biological Identification of Skulls in Indonesian and Thai Populations

Skull Illustration (source: Liputan 6)

The most important thing in identification is the level of accuracy. A high accuracy value can speed up the identification process. The use of the correct method supports this process quickly, especially when the condition of the victim found is a result of mutilation or a bomb explosion. Special conditions with an incomplete body are a challenge to the identification process; this study intends to obtain an identification method quickly, precisely, and accurately.

The biological profile can help process identification from the evaluation of four criteria: age at death, sex, stature, and ancestry. The human skull is often said to be first in estimation of age and ancestry, and second of sex and stature in terms of the accuracy of identification from skeletal remains

The segment of the skull found was able to show the individual’s profile. Ancestry can be seen from the exocranial, craniometrics, and orbital shapes, as each hereditary group has a different shape and size, while sex can be seen from the craniometrics, including the mandible. Some sections will be very different for males and females. Age estimation can be done through suture closure, endocranial, exocranial, and lambdoid suture, though some experts use third molars if the mandible is found. Stature is estimated using craniometrics. The parts measured include the cranial and mandibular, as well as certain points of the Basion-Nasion- Nasal Bone, Head Length-Head Breadth, G-op, Ba-N and Ma-SN.

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster that occurred made us realize that forensic anthropologists were needed to handle cases of identification with a large number of victims. Numerous victims and the need for individual identification require an appropriate method. The time taken for the identification process is directly proportional to the decomposition of the victim’s body. Thus, the slower the process, the more difficult it is to identify victims. The second Bali bombing in 2002 in Indonesia resulted in 202 deaths and 209 injuries. Many victims were found with incomplete body parts. The problem was that the victims came from various regions across the country. This case shows the importance of implementing forensic anthropology in assisting the identification process. The analysis that needs to be done is related to biological characteristics such as sex, age, stature, and ancestry of the skeleton.

The implementation of the biological profile during the identification process is very important with several cases that require the aid of forensic anthropology. The significant value of the application of the method in showing the individual’s biological profile is very helpful in cases of natural disasters, terrorism, murder, and mutilation, when the victim’s condition is incomplete, or only a skeleton remains. As reviewed in this article, the application of biological profile identification through the skull is strongly influenced by ancestry or origin through geographic areas. Each population group has different criteria that can show the characteristics of its ancestry. This follows other biological profile parameters such as sex, age, and stature.

In carrying out this analysis, the things that need to be present are an estimate of ancestry on the skull, an estimate of gender from the skull, an estimate of age from the skull, and an estimate of body height based on the skull. The accuracy of each estimate is not the same as the other. For example, ancestry assessments refer to geographic areas of origin. Ancestry refers to the geographic area of origin. Estimation of ancestry from human skeletal remains is possible due to geographically patterned human variation. Human populations differ due to evolutionary processes such as natural selection, genetic drift, mutation, and gene flow, which collectively shape genotypic and phenotypic variation, including skeletal variation.

Age estimation is an important element in the identification of individuals when human skeletal remains are found. This is important for constructing biological profiles in the process of identifying individual forensic cases or for establishing profiles of past population deaths (Yuniarti et al., 2013). However, it is argued that the reliability of the estimate is too dependent on the demographic profile of the Western reference samples from which the methods are generally developed. The rate of bone remodeling and degeneration is known to differ between European, African, and Asian populations

It can be concluded that in carrying out identification, the method that can be applied is craniometry which can be used to determine sex, age, stature, and estimated ancestry. Different results will occur depending on the completeness of the skull. Therefore, estimation formulas have different accurate results. Discriminant function analysis has been performed on various measurement sets and its discriminant power has been validated by many researchers. Geometric morphometric analysis has become the main tool for shape analysis and many attempts have been made to use it in analyzing skulls.

Rosida Clivara Sari Anjani; Myrtati Dyah Artaria; Phruksachat Singsuwan; Jiripat Arunorat & Pasuk Mahakkanukrauh

Link article: https://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0717-95022024000100137&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en 

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