Forensic anthropology is the discipline that applies the scientific knowledge of physical anthropology to the recovery and analysis of legal evidences. The work of a forensic anthropologist comprises recovery, description and identification of human skeletal remains resulted from an unexplained death. In law enforcement forensic anthropology is utilized to determine the person’s identity, throughout its biological profile, and/or the cause of death. In September 2014, an unidentified dead body was discovered along the Po river, in Emilia Romagna region (northern Italy). After autopsy, the causes of death were unknown but downing could not be excluded. Because of the particular condition of the body, that was partially skeletonized and saponified, a multidisciplinary approach has been used, integrating forensic analysis (autopsy, DNA and toxicological analysis, CT) with additional anthropological methods. The body was complete, with exception of the mandible, several hands’ bones and many maxillary teeth lost post-mortem. Skull and pelvis were brought to the Laboratory of ArchaeoAnthropology and Forensic Anthropology of Ferrara University for the anthropological examination. The aim of the anthropological analysis was to assess biological characteristics (sex, age and ethnicity), pathologies and peculiarities of the unknown body in order to facilitate the identification. Anthropological examination showed the remains were those of an adult individual of male sex, and pathological analysis resulted in evidences of ante mortem traumatic condition of the pelvis. Moreover, a 3D model of the skull was developed for further morphometric analysis. The results obtained from the anthropological examination, integrated with the analysis conducted by the Laboratory of Forensic Medicine of the University of Ferrara, gave important details useful for the identification of the body.
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