A simple bone allows, accordig to researchers of the group iological Anthropology of the faculty of Medicine of Granada of the University of Granada, to discover a skeleton´s age and sex. Any bone member, even if it is quartered, found by archaeologists or a police group is more than enough for experts from Granada to get to know the deceased´s exact age and sex. Six years of hard work and the most important bone collection in Spain, with more than 2,200 skeletons, have made possible for this group possible to be the only Laboratory of Physical Anthropology in the south of Spain.
Members of the Biological Anthropology research group of the University of Granada have been able to configurate a human identification technique from bone remains unique in Spain. According to Miguel Cecilio Botella, responsible for the group, this technique allows to "determine a person´s sex and age with more than 98% success with just a two or three centimetres-long fragment of bone". Results are possible thanks to very accurate database. It is an essential discovery for judicial matters, which, together with face reconstruction techniques with bone study, has allowed to solve important police and judicial investigations.
Six years of hard work and the most important bone collection in Spain, with more than 2,200 skeletons, have made possible for this group possible to be the only Laboratory of Physical Anthropology in the south of Spain. "Two doctoral thesis have been carried out on this subject. Inmaculada Alemán and Alberto Chaure have worked on this field studying subjects with known sex and age so as they have obtaines the formula to determine these variables in very small bone fragments". A finding that shortly will be extrapolated to Mexico thanks to the collaboration of Marta Pimienta, "who is working on this subject to carry out a research work in Mexico".
The Biilogical Anthropology group formed thanks to the first aids of the Andalusian Council although, according to the research responsible, Miguel Cecilio Botella, "we have been studying since 1970". Nowadays, fourteen researchers devote their time to three basic research lines: "Human evolution study from prehistory until today through bone remains found in Andalusia; human sacrifice and cannibalism in the world; and forensic anthropology".
As regards human evolution study, researchers have collaborated in the writing of fifteen doctoral thesis related to human remains from prehistory untl today determining characteristic features for each population to analyse race mixing and the features of each Andalusian group. These research works have produced some very important data on the evolution of some native populations in Andalusia and how Mediterranean groups have changed under the influence of other groups, such as Moslems. According to Miguel Botella, "the mostsignificant differences between men and women are that the second have less strong bones and they are smaller. A constant that intensifies with the passing of years, within the trend of human beings to be less robust". In addition, researchers have proved that populations in the Mediterranean West show a higher trend to gracialization are less robusts and their skull is more spherical. These changes have been caused by adaptive factors that make that western Occidentals have a higher volume of encephalic mass with the same skull size, a shorter and broader skull.
Such data are also being extrapolated to America "because we know how the population was and the evolution in the south of the peninsula, which is being useful to study Middle American population and analyse the consequences of the impact of Spanish in America by miscegenation". Andalusians characterize, according to these research works, "by a mixing of groups that has caused a higher variability than in the rest oif Spain". Research works have also revealed the higher population survival nowadays and diagnose that the most frequent death cause among the youth all over Andalusia until the fifties were infectious diseases".
The human remains collection of more than 2,200 skeletons from neolithic until today, the largest one in Spain, has allowed to this group to develop interesting theories and become the only laboratory of Physical Anthropology in the south of Spain.
Human sacrifice, a research work carried out altogether with the Autonomous University of Mexico and the Institute of Anthropology of Mexico, studies Hispanic and mixed-race population characters taking into account intentional manipulations on human bones: "cannibalism. A common practice in the neolithic all over Europe; we can say that in this period in Andalusia this practice was not typical of a certain sex or age. It was a ritualized and systematic activity all over Andalusia".
In Granada fourteen areas have found where cannibalism was a habitual practice. "From the end of 3000 to 2500 before Christ cannibalism was ordinary in Alfacar, Piñar or Moclín". Such practice was carried out without any difference, "they ate both men and women and children. Bones have been found in rubbish dumps mixed up with animal remains without any sort of ritual". The marks found were made with knives, "they are marks of cuts, of human teeth". Almost all the bodies were boiled (for three or four hours) or roasted, although they also ate raw human flesh. "It is a non-ritual cannibalism, systematic and without any distinction with regard to animals. An activity we have also found in Finland, France and the rest of Andalusia".
Miguel Cecilio Botella. Department of Morphological Sciences. Faculty of Medicine. Phone numbers: 958. 243533/ 35
Martes, 13 de Febrero de 2001
Researchers from Granada develop an identification technique to identify the age and sex of a deceased person from a piece of bone
The Biological Anthropology group is the only laboratory of Physical Anthropology in the south of Spain and has the largest collection of human remains in Spain with more than 2,200 skeletons.