Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology – University of Copenhagen

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Department of Forensic Medicine > About the department > Laboratory of Forensic...

Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology

The laboratory performs forensic anthropological analyses at the request of the police and archaeological studies for museums all over the country.

The Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology curates one of the world’s largest collections of prehistoric and historic human skeletons. The collection of more than 30,000 items represents 10,000 years of human tissue from the Mesolithic Age to the 17th century and provides a valuable basis for comparative analyses by researchers at home and from abroad.

Forensic anthropology

Forensic anthropology may be defined as the application of biological or physical anthropology in the service of justice. Thus, the laboratory performs forensic anthropological analysis on the request of the police. One main area is the analysis of human remains. Often these analyses are carried out in close cooperation with forensic pathologists.

Analysis of surveillance pictures and videos is another area of investigation. A typical case would be a bank robbery, where the perpetrator has been caught on camera. If the police find a suspect, any likeness between a suspect and the perpetrator can be analysed.

Biological anthropology

The work of the Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology is based on biological anthropology and its methods.

Biological anthropology involves medical studies of human biological remains, typically skeletons. Biological anthropology ranges from paleontological studies of the origin of man, studies of ancient diseases on the basis of skeletal material from medieval times and analyses of prehistoric burial sites, to forensic anthropological investigations.