Forensic Anthropology as a Discipline

Biology (Basel). 2021 Jul 21;10(8):691. doi: 10.3390/biology10080691.


This paper explores the current state of forensic anthropology in the United States as a distinct discipline. Forensic anthropology has become increasingly specialized and the need for strengthened professionalization is becoming paramount. This includes a need for clearly defined qualifications, training, standards of practice, certification processes, and ethical guidelines. Within this discussion, the concept of expertise is explored in relation to professionalization and practice, as both bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology have different areas of specialist knowledge, and therefore unique expertise. As working outside one's area of expertise is an ethical violation, it is important for professional organizations to outline requisite qualifications, develop standards and best practice guidelines, and enforce robust preventive ethical codes in order to serve both their professional members and relevant stakeholders.

Keywords: bioarchaeology; education; ethics; expertise; forensic anthropology; knowledge; professionalization; qualifications; standards.