Osteological Analysis of Indian Black Market Human Remains

Daria Laine Seccurro

Abstract


When human skeletal remains are discovered, there is initially little knowledge or explanation of their background. Executing a thorough osteological analysis of human skeletal remains can identify unknown information and provide new knowledge. Skeletal remains purchased from India until 1985 are believed to stem from a “legal” grave-robbing bone trade. A set of human remains housed at WVWC’s human anatomy lab, purchased in the early 1960s, display an “Origin India” sticker. Due to the origination, we decided to analyze the human remains. The purpose of this study is to conduct a complete osteological analysis on this set of human remains. Data were collected using Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains and The Human Bone Manual. Specific bony features and abnormalities found during the analysis were compared to the given scientific norms to establish pathology. Preliminary anthropometric assessments show lumbosacral scoliosis. The remains appear to belong to a young adult (15-20) but age is difficult to infer due to post mortem alteration of the epiphyses. There is evidence of a potential calcium deficiency, which also affects epiphyseal fusion, which can alter age approximation. Sex appears ambiguous which supports the young age, but leaning male, based on the pubic symphysis and ventral arc. Bone remodeling around the sternum indicates fracture with complete healing. The tibiae show bowing; all articulations appear gracile, though some long bones show early osteoarthritis. Due to this controversial analysis, future research warrants a detailed computed tomography scan. 


Keywords


Osteological Analysis of Human Remians

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