Inês Oliveira-Santos’ statment
I am Inês Oliveira-Santos, PhD student in Anthropology, specialization in Forensic Anthropology at the Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Technology from the University of Coimbra. Currently, I am developing my PhD project on the subject of age estimation with third molar through the retrospective analysis of panoramic radiographies of identified individuals from a diverse geographic origin, at the Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology (SFRH/BD/139158/2018). Due to the drastic changes on human migratory flows at a worldwide level in the past decade, and the consequent arrival of undocumented and unaccompanied minors to foreign countries, forensic anthropology has a role on the investigation of reliable methods for age assessment and consequent distinguishing between minor and adults, considering that a misidentification implies ethical, legal, and administrative repercussions.
My study design implied a comparative analysis between individuals from diverse geographic origins, therefore I had planned some time abroad, both to collect data to include on my research work and also to have the opportunity to meet other workplaces and researchers with different experiences and skills. I am sure this experience abroad would only present me with fresh research perspectives, which would only improve my project.
Hence I had planned a trip to Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (South Africa) to gather data from south African individuals. Unfortunately, in 2020, Portugal (alongside the rest of the world) faced the Covid-19 pandemic, and our reality shifted. Like many researchers across the world, I had to adjust all my plans and travelling was postponed indefinitely.
Fortunately, Bakeng se Afrika project organized a Virtual Interim Meeting last November 2020, in which I had the opportunity to participate and present a preview of my project. Although the impossibility of attending these meetings in person is unfortunate, this initiative was a wonderful way to overcome the actual limitations and allowed science dissemination in a completely safe manner. Altogether, it was great to be able to participate in an event that presented such diverse topics and allowed to interact with researchers from all over the globe, which in a time of social distancing is great to fight isolation.