Critical issues in the historical and contemporary development of forensic anthropology in Australia: An international comparison

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Journal Article
Forensic Science International, 2017, 275 pp. 314.e1 - 314.e8
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. The aim of this brief critical qualitative analysis is to examine the development of forensic anthropology in Australia, at a time of significant change in the discipline. It will briefly summarise its historical establishment, making comparative reference to other regions—particularly the United Kingdom and United States, and the influence of the Bali Bombings of 2002, Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of 2004 and Black Saturday Bushfires of 2009. The analysis goes on to consider key factors in research in forensic anthropology in the United States, and the development of standards and regulation in the US and UK. The significance of research in post-mortem diagenesis in Brazil—a country sharing aspects of climate, soil types and demography with Australia—is also considered, as well as the significance of patterns of casework encountered in Australia compared with those of other jurisdictions. While forensic anthropology as a discipline has grown remarkably in recent years, this analysis suggests that research and training tailored to the specific pattern of casework encountered in Australia is now essential to support the development of national standards in science, education, and professional regulation. The significance of the establishment of the first taphonomy research facility outside of the US—the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research—is briefly considered with reference to what this facility may offer to the development of forensic anthropology in Australia.
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