Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Anthropology and Ethnic Studies

First Committee Member

Jennifer L. Thompson

Number of Pages



Modern anthropologists reject the notion that individuals can be assigned to clear-cut divisions of racial origins, yet this identification technique is a required practice in forensic settings. Forensic anthropologists study morphological features and craniometric values to assess the possible ancestry of an unidentified set of human remains. This ancestral assessment is subsequently translated into a "racial" description, as these categories are commonly used and understood by society; Race, however, is an artificial social construction, and racial categories fluctuate over time and space. Consequently, the forensic assessment of race based on cranial characteristics could significantly differ from an individual's self-assessment of his or her racial identity; The following research study explores this paradox within anthropology. The use of contemporary archival records consisting of both three-dimensional skull images and patient data reveals the extent to which an individual's self-reported race corresponds to that predicted by osteological analysis. Results show that the use of craniometric data to determine an unknown individual's race may not be a reliable technique.


Assessment; Correlation; Craniometric; Identities; Patterning; Racial; Reflection; Reported; Self

Controlled Subject

Physical anthropology

File Format


File Size

1648.64 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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