skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 222142 Find in a Library
Title: Demographic Change and Forensic Identification: Problems in Metric Identification of Hispanic Skeletons
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:53  Issue:1  Dated:January 2008  Pages:21-28
Author(s): M. Katherine Spradley Ph.D.; Richard L. Jantz Ph.D.; Alan Robinson M.Sc.; Fredy Peccerelli B.S.
Date Published: January 2008
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Law Enforcement Innovation Ctr of Tennessee
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using metric data from the Forensic Anthropology Data Bank (FDB), this paper explores several issues faced by U.S. forensic anthropologists when confronted with Hispanic remains, since much of the identification criteria for biological profiles in the United States are based on American Black and White individuals from anatomical collections.
Abstract: The U.S. population structure is currently in a state of flux, with one of the most profound changes being the increasing number of people referred to as Hispanic. This paper uses the socially constructed term "Hispanic" to refer to individuals of Spanish-speaking origin. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than one in eight people are of Hispanic origin; in forensic anthropology, however, only a few identification criteria are based on Hispanic samples. Using the available Hispanic data, this paper examines the problems associated with applying American White criteria to sex, stature, and ancestry estimation for Hispanic individuals. The study found that when faced with the remains of FDB Hispanics, if the pelvis was not available, the accuracy of metric sex determination declined considerably. Both visual and metric sex estimation of the skull may also be misleading for southwest Hispanic crania, because they tend to be smaller and more slender than other groups; however, if ancestry can be assessed as Hispanic, sex may become more accurate if population-specific sex estimates are derived. Plots of the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) data illustrate the need for population-specific stature formulas for Hispanics from different geographic areas. Methods and reference samples are the key when keeping up with America's changing demographics for purposes of skeletal identification. Forensic anthropologists are only just beginning to understand the complexity and biological variation among southwest Hispanics and other Hispanic groups. 6 tables, 6 figures, and 22 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Bone analysis; Death investigations; Demography; Forensic sciences; Hispanic Americans; Investigative techniques; Victim identification
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.