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Anthropology at the University of Florida

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Forensic Anthropology

One important focus within biological anthropology is forensic anthropology, a synergistic science. UF’s forensic anthropology program typically includes coursework in evolutionary biology, biostatistics, human gross anatomy, forensic pathology, archaeology, biomechanics, human development, radiology, and osteology.

Most importantly, we emphasize a hands-on approach to forensic anthropology. The department has a forensic anthropology laboratory, the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory (CAPHIL), which focuses on service to the State of Florida and outside agencies.

Collaboration between CAPHIL and other laboratories and departments extends to groups both internal and external to UF, including the Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine, Department of Geology, the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), and numerous Universities. These partnerships maximize graduate student research opportunities.

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The Graduate Program in Forensic Anthropology

Graduate students are directly involved in all aspects of casework, including case management, search and recovery, processing of human remains, report authorship, peer review,  and legal testimony. Students interested in pursuing the Ph.D. in Anthropology with an emphasis in forensic anthropology must apply to the graduate program in Anthropology. Students interested in graduate training in forensic anthropology at the University of Florida are encouraged to contact Ms. Juanita Bagnall, the Graduate Program Assistant, for detailed application information.

  • The forensic Ph.D. concentration is highly competitive, with 3% or fewer applicants receiving offers of admission.
  • Your Statement of Purpose should describe a specific interest in physical or biological anthropology with an emphasis on applied skeletal biology or forensic anthropology.
  • Successful candidates demonstrate excellence through their grade point averages, GRE scores, publications, and presentations at regional or national meetings.
  • Successful applicants usually have a degree in anthropology with a concentration in physical anthropology, although previous students have come from backgrounds in the forensic sciences, zoology, and biology.
  • Prospective students are encouraged to visit the University of Florida prior to the admission deadline and should arrange their trip with the CAPHIL Director.

The C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory

Pound Logo

The C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory, or CAPHIL, is a scientific, academically-based forensic anthropology laboratory engaged in service, research, and teaching. The laboratory employs highly standardized methods and procedures conducive to the production and documentation of scientifically sound casework while maintaining a creative and innovative intellectual atmosphere that is the hallmark of a professional laboratory.

Mission

The C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory’s mission is to provide quality forensic anthropology services to the Medical Examiners of the State of Florida and others, provide education to all levels of students in the field of forensic anthropology, provide community outreach, and conduct research focused within the area of biological anthropology.

To this end, the CAPHIL will attain the highest level of scientific competence and integrity possible and maintain a level of ethical standing that is beyond reproach. The CAPHIL is dedicated to maintaining itself as a leader in the profession.

In order to achieve its mission, the CAPHIL models its operations according to the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board IEC/ISO 17020 (Requirements for Forensic Inspection Bodies) criteria, the National Academy of Sciences Standards, as well as the best practice guidelines of the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Anthropology; further, the CAPHIL intends to uphold the best practices outlined by future publications from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC).

History

The history of the laboratory dates back to 1972, the year the laboratory’s founder, Dr. William R. Maples, consulted on his first forensic case. Maples conducted casework in the Florida Museum of Natural History until 1991, when the university received an endowment for a new forensic anthropology laboratory from C. Addison Pound, Jr., a generous benefactor of the University of Florida. The C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory was built on Radio Road on the UF campus and operated as an extension of the Florida Museum of Natural History. Dr. William R. Maples served as the laboratory’s first director from 1991 until his death in February of 1997. During that time, he was involved in the investigations of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of such notable figures as President Zachary Taylor, Francisco Pizzaro, the family of Czar Nicholas II, and civil rights advocate Medgar Evers. In 1996, the C. A. Pound Laboratory formally moved its administration to the Department of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

What We Do

At present, the CAPHIL performs analyses for many of the 24 medical examiner districts in the State of Florida and receives roughly 50 cases per year. Although most of the cases received at the laboratory originate from medical examiners and law enforcement agencies within the State of Florida, the CAPHIL also consults for agencies outside of Florida, and has been involved in numerous cases of national and international interest.

Location

In June of 2006, the laboratory moved to new quarters in the Cancer and Genetics Research Complex on campus. The lab occupies 2400 sq. ft. and encompasses wet laboratory space, graduate student offices, and administrative offices.

Affiliations

The C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory is an element of the William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine at the University of Florida. CAPHIL personnel actively collaborate with researchers at several institutions outside of UF, resulting in publications and applied work with other forensic anthropologists in a variety of settings. In addition, the CAPHIL’s longstanding multi-disciplinary partnerships with other forensic professionals, both at the University of Florida and elsewhere, have aided its growth and success.

Student Volunteer Program

Undergraduate students currently attending the University of Florida who have completed relevant coursework (required courses: ANT 3520: Skeleton Keys or ANT 4525: Human Osteology and Osteometry) are eligible for consideration to fulfill a volunteer position in the CAPHIL. Please contact the CAPHIL Volunteer Coordinator for further details and application instructions.

Code of Ethics and Conduct

The CAPHIL upholds the Code of Ethics and Conduct established by the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Anthropology (SWGANTH). This Code of Ethics and Conduct emphasizes that information pertaining to cases is confidential and will be released to the public (including media) only by the primary investigative agency (i.e. Medical Examiner’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, Police Departments, etc.). Media requests for general information about the laboratory should be addressed to the Director.

Select Publications by CAPHIL Personnel and Collaborators

In press. Winburn, AP. Subjective with a Capital S? Issues of Objectivity in Forensic Anthropology.  Edited book chapter, Forensic Anthropology:  Theoretical Framework and Scientific Basis.  Forensic Science in Focus series, Wiley-Blackwell, est. publication date 2017.

2017 Rubin KM, DeLeon VB. Ancestral Variation in Orbital Rim Shape: A Three-Dimensional Pilot Study. Journal of Forensic Sciences, Early View.

2017 Winburn, AP, Rubin, KM, LeGarde, CB, and Finlayson, JE. Use of qualitative and quantitative techniques in the resolution of a small-scale medicolegal case of commingled human remains. Florida Scientist 80(1): 24-37.

2017 Finlayson JE, Bartelink EJ, Perrone A, Dalton KD. 2017. Multi-method resolution of small-scale commingling. Journal of Forensic Sciences 62(2):493-497.

2016 Stock MK, Stull KE, Garvin HM, Klales AR. “Development of modern human subadult age and sex estimation standards using multi-slice computed tomography images from medical examiner’s offices.” Proceedings SPIE 9967, Developments in X-Ray Tomography X, 99670E.

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