Macroscopic Evaluation

The research that I did at NMHM was an experiment, not a case study or anything like that. I followed a scientific method, with a hypothesis and everything hah. I analyzed the Civil War bones macroscopically (with the naked eye), as opposed to microscopically (under a microscope or some other technological magnifying device). Macro= large, micro=really tiny, microscopic, you get it..

I chose to do this macroscopically because the more elements you add into the experiment, the more complicated it gets; you have to get the equipment somehow (I mean what equipment would I even use for this? I don’t know, none), if you zoom in at all you would have to make sure the zoom amount was consistent throughout, you would probably have to look at each bone from the same angle, and so on. This is too much too (for now) because when Bones goes to determine how long it has been since an injury occurred on the human remains that she is analyzing at the crime scene, she doesn’t have a lab full of equipment. She could bring the remains back to the lab and analyze but I mean it’s pretty cool when she can be like bam, according to the pubic symphasis characteristics, this guy was between the ages of 25 and 35, bam, according to the shape of the eye orbits and nasal contours, he was of African descent, bam, he suffered traumatic injuries approximately 3 weeks ago.

The goal of my experiment was to use a method conjured up by two physical anthropologists, maybe forensic anthropologists, idk what they are exactly, besides humans, who study bones, Barbian and Sledzik (2008) (B&S) to acquire qualitative data using a nominal scale of 0-4. B&S also analyzed bones from the Civil War Collection at NMHM. They were looking at 4 different bones responses to injury. “Bone responses to injury” is strange wording. It took a while for us (an anatomist, a neurobiologist, and two forensic anthropologists) to work on getting it right. Basically, it’s the biological, biomechanical (+ more) function of bone repairing itself (after injury or your bones are constantly repairing technically I guess). Bone responds to forces, the elasticity of bone during life (and after until it dries out, which there is no definite amount of time, we’ll get to this soon) prevents bone from breaking like a stick everytime it is impacted by a force that is stronger than say a dry bone could resist. This elasticity is a reflection of nourishment, water content, and some other things that I don’t know off the top of my head. But whatever, milk and stuff make your bones strong like your parents say, and that actually means something.


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