SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Apply forensic anthropological principles in forensic investigations 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
243632  Apply forensic anthropological principles in forensic investigations 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Forensic Science 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 08 - Law, Military Science and Security Safety in Society 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  12 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
This unit standard is intended to introduce the learner to the elementary processes of forensic anthropology related to forensic investigations. Learners will have an understanding as to how forensic anthropology assists in assessing and identifying the skeletonised remains of individuals who died in mass disasters, wars, or due to homicides, suicides, or accidents, as well as the exhumed skeletonised remains of individuals and the remains of individuals found in mass graves. Learners will be able to facilitate the forensic anthropological handling process of human remains in a forensic environment.

Persons credited with this unit standard will be able to:
  • Apply elementary scientific principles of physical anthropology and human osteology.
  • Determine the forensic context of recovered skeletal remains.
  • Apply scientific principles in the recovery of human skeletal remains.
  • Estimate time since death.
  • Determine age, gender, ethnicity, stature and possible cause of death.
  • Assist with individualisation of skeletal remains. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
  • Communication at NQF Level 4.
  • The unit standards:
    > 243638: "Apply knowledge of anatomy, patho-physiology and trauma pathology", NQF Level 5.
    > 243635: "Facilitate identification process of human remains", NQF Level 5.
    > 243631: "Assist with post mortem examination procedures", NQF Level 5.
    > 243636: "Perform imaging techniques", NQF Level 5. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
  • The term "scientific principles" refers applies to the internationally accepted protocols and procedures used in the forensic anthropological community.
  • The terms "individualisation" and "identification" are used interchangeably for the purposes of this unit standard.
  • The term "given situation" refers to forensic case studies, structured scenarios and particular contexts.
  • Gathering of information can be either at the incident scene, a medico-legal facility or laboratory.
  • In this unit standard "skeletal bones" and "bones" may refer to but are not limited to: the skull, vertebral column, rib cage, pelvis, upper and lower limbs, hyoid and long bones. 

  • Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Apply elementary scientific principles of physical anthropology and human osteology. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Skeletal bones are identified in order to determine their placements and articulations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Skeletal remains are assessed in order to describe findings in a scientific report(s) that should withstand scientific and legal scrutiny. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Findings should include references to the anatomical position, direction and planes: superior (cranial), inferior (caudal), medial, lateral, anterior (ventral), posterior (dorsal), proximal and distal.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The structure of the skull is examined to determine if abnormalities are present. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    The examination must include the examination of the bones, sutures, landmarks and sinuses.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Determine the forensic context of recovered skeletal remains. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Forensic context may refer to the place where the remains were found and their position in relation to landmarks. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The recovered remains are assessed in order to determine whether they are bone. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    The assessment may be done using microscopic analysis.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The identified bone is assessed to determine whether it is human or animal. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    The assessment should include maturity and architecture - shape - of bones.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The human remains are grouped into categories using distinguishing methods. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
  • Categories should refer to contemporary (forensic) and non-contemporary (archaeological).
  • Distinguishing methods may include: state of preservation, body modification, personal belongings and conditions of interment.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Apply scientific principles in the recovery of human skeletal remains. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Recovery may include retrieving and exhuming. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Methods of locating human remains are explained in terms of their advantages and disadvantages in specific situations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Methods may include ground-penetrating radar, methane gas emissions, and aerial photography.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The remains are mapped to indicate their location. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Mapped includes but is not limited to markers, sketches and photography.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Skeletal remains are recovered in a given situation. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The recovered remains are handled as per scientific principles. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Handling includes packaged, stored and transported.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Recovery techniques are adapted for use in different contexts. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Contexts may refer to mass fatalities, for example air crashes, natural disasters, genocide.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    Adaptations in recovery techniques are explained in line with a given context. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Contexts may refer to mass fatalities, for example air crashes, natural disasters, genocide etc.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Estimate time since death. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The principles of forensic taphonomy are described to determine post mortem interval. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Taphonomy includes decomposition, skeletonisation, and insect and scavenger activity.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The processes of decomposition are described in order to determine the effect of degradation. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Processes include, but are not limited to degradation effects in different climatic and environmental conditions, effects on decomposition and clothing.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The process from decomposition to skeletonisation is described in order to establish rough time schedules. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Insect activity and animal scavenging are described in order to understand their effect on the body. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 5 
    Determine age, gender, ethnicity, stature and possible cause of death. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Gender is determined from the examination of bones. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Bones: skull, long bones and pelvis) as per scientific principles.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Age is estimated by examining skeletal remains as per scientific principles. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Racial identity is determined by examination of skeletal remains as per scientific principles. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Stature is determined using available anthropologic equipment and measurement formulae. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Skeletal injuries are described in order to determine mechanisms of injuries and possible causes of death. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Injuries include but are not limited to blunt, sharp, projectile, heat, biological and chemical trauma.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 6 
    Assist with individualisation of skeletal remains. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Facial reproduction forensic anthropological techniques are explained in terms of their use when identifying a body. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Techniques include, but not limited to: digital superimposition techniques, reconstruction of facial appearance from skull, computer graphic techniques etc.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The handedness is explained in order to match it with a particular individual. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The body weight of the deceased is estimated in order to match it with a particular individual. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The comparative value of ante mortem records is explained in terms of their use when matching it with a particular individual. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    The role of forensic odontology is explained in the context of establishing the identity of an individual. 


    UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • An individual wishing to be assessed (including through RPL) against this unit standard may apply to an assessment agency, assessor or provider institution accredited by the relevant ETQA.
  • Anyone assessing a learner against this unit standard must be registered as an assessor with the relevant ETQA.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable achievement of this unit standard or assessing this unit standard must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA.
  • Moderation of assessment will be conducted by the relevant ETQA at its discretion. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
  • Decomposition: mummification, adipocere.
  • Relevant sections of the following Acts:
    > The Human Tissue Act 65 of 1983.
    > The National Health Act 61 of 2003.
    > The Inquests Act 58 of 1959.
    > The Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992.
    > The Health Professions Act 56 of 1974.
    > The Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977.
    > The Occupational Health And Safety Act 85 of1993. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Problem solving is covered in that a learner must be able to establish circumstances or cause of death, as well as assist with the identification of skeletonised remains. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO WORKING 
    Working in a team when assisting the expert in a forensic investigative environment. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO ORGANISING 
    Self management in that the learner is responsible for organising and managing him/herself in the collection and preservation of data. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Learners are required to collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information relating to Forensic Anthropology in a forensic investigative environment. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Learners are required to communicate accurate information about issues of Forensic Anthropology relating to the scene of death using a variety of communication methods. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Learners are required to use science and technology in the collection and analysis of forensic evidence. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Learners are required to see the world as a set of related systems in that, when they are problem solving at a scene of death, their actions may affect the outcome of the investigation. 

    UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    N/A 

    QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Elective  58183   National Diploma: Forensic Pathology Support  Level 5  NQF Level 05  Reregistered  2023-06-30  SAS SETA 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.