Anthropologists assist in identifications primarily by constructing a biological profile. Once the anthropologist is sure that the material is bone, they must determine whether it came from a human or a non-human animal. Forensic anthropology is the application of anthropology to criminal investigations. It incorporates concepts and methods from biological anthropology (the study of the physical aspects of humanity).
This includes estimating age, sex, stature, and ancestry, as well as identifying specific characteristics, like diseases or injuries. In addition to helping identify human remains, the anthropologist analyzes injuries that happened around the time of a person's death, which can help determine how a person died. To do these things, an anthropologist begins by asking a series of important questions. Identifying unknown individuals is a key part of forensic anthropology. All mammals share a generalized skeletal template, meaning they all have the same bones in roughly the same locations: a skull, spine (which ends in a tail), ribs (which support the internal organs), and four sets of limb bones. However, the shape of the bones and the way they relate to each other, differ between animals. By examining the size, shape, and structure of a bone, an anthropologist can determine if it is human.