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OsteoID: A New Forensic Tool to Help Identify the Species of Skeletal Remains

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2023

When a law enforcement agency receives a call to investigate skeletal remains, any number of specialists might answer that call, including forensic anthropologists, medical examiners, coroners, crime scene investigators, or death investigators. Although most experienced forensic anthropologists can distinguish human bones from animal bones with relative ease, assigning non-human bones to a particular species can be a bit trickier if the investigator does not have extensive zoological training. National Institute of Justice grantee Dr. Heather Garvin’s group from Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical Center developed a free online database, OsteoID. They compiled simple measurements and visual comparisons so that a person could easily identify the species of a bone by using this tool. The group, funded by a grant from NIJ, also created a decision tree for determining species as well as accuracy estimates for using their database to distinguish human from non-human bones

Date Published: November 1, 2023