A new method for the analysis of human hair : a morphological case study of five sample populations Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/j9602492p

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  • Hair is an important piece of evidence in forensic and archaeological investigations. Analysis of the morphological features of hair has been reported since at least the early 1800's. However, many questions still remain unanswered such as, how can human groups (or local populations) be analyzed and possibly distinguished from each other based on the morphology of their hair? This investigation successfully established a set of procedures for analysis of human hair morphology and explored the possibility of separating populations by examining a case study of 40 hairs from five sample populations (Mongolian, English, Vietnamese, Native American Sioux and Oneida). The methodology leads the investigator from the point of receiving a single hair to acquiring a list of specific, discernible traits characterizing that hair. These methods included a variety laboratory procedures (cleaning, casting, mounting and microtome sectioning of the hair) and examination procedures (microscope and computer imaging and developing a key and database). Statistical analysis was then utilized in order to determine the variability and/or relationships between the populations. Although the results were not statistically significant, they weakly support a division of three groups: English, Mongolian and Vietnamese, and Sioux and Oneida. The small sample size and overlap between the five populations is a limiting factor in attempting to discriminate between populations and should be taken into consideration in future investigations.
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