No one has ever "identified" the female remains specifically as such is in fact impossible. As stated, all that can be shown is that the female has a 100% sibling relationship to the male, and both have 100% parental relationship to Nicholas and Alexandra. All children are accounted for, but to specifically identify Anastasia and Maria to one set of remains or the other is simply not possible.
This is contradicted by the insistence of the Russians that Maria's remains were missing from the mass grave and by the insistence of the Americans that it was Anastasia's remains that were missing. Apparently both groups of scientists believed that they could conclusively identify the skeletal remains.
Chapters 18-20 of FOTR extensively discuss the unearthing, examination, and identification of the remains. According to K&W, Falsetti and France immediately recognized that the remains designated by the Russians as Anastasia's (based solely on the imperfect technique of photographic superimposition) in fact belonged to an older female, based on the following factors (quoted from p. 455, FOTR):
1) height (later photographs clearly show that Anastasia was shorter than her sisters)
2) lack of signs of immaturity in the vertebrae and bones
3) age and development of the pelvic rim
4) age and development of the clavicles
5) age and development of the dental roots
After measuring these parameters in each skeleton, the Americans established that the remains of Maria (skeleton #5), Tatiana (#6), and Olga (#3) were all present in the mass grave because the bones displayed a clear developmental progression from 19 years to 21 years to 22 years of age. This confirmed Maples' conclusions from an earlier examination.
Contrary to assertions made in this thread, Forensic Anthropologists can actually determine the age of a skeleton fairly precisely - especially the skeleton of a child or adolescent who was still growing. In addition to the 5 factors listed above, modern FAs would also examine the closure of cranial sutures, the development of molars and wisdom teeth, and the extent of epiphysial fusion - the closing of the "growth plates" at the ends of the long bones and clavicles. All of these factors exhibit clearly identifiable progressions within limited age ranges. FAs can cross-reference the age ranges for each factor to narrow down the age of the skeleton quite precisely. It would be relatively simple to put a group of skeletons like those in the mass grave in chronological order by age once these factors had been measured. (The age of older skeletons is determined by the degree of deterioration
in the bones rather than by growth
, and is somewhat less precise.)
The essential point is that there are clear developmental differences between the bones, skull, and teeth of a 17-year old and those of a 19-year old. This is how France and Falsetti recognized immediately that skeleton #6 could NOT be Anastasia. There may not have been enough bones in the second grave to clearly determine the age of the female skeleton but it is virtually certain that Anastasia's bones were NOT found in the first (mass) grave. Therefore, the female remains in the second grave had to belong to her since the DNA tests confirmed the presence of two siblings. The following website is a good place to start if you're interested in this topic:http://www.anthro4n6.net/forensics/#Age
I respect the opinion expressed by AP, Tim, and others that it doesn't matter which remains are in which grave since they are all accounted for. What fascinates me is the determination of the Russian scientists to "prove" that Anastasia's remains were present in the mass grave, despite the insistence of the more qualified American scientists that they were missing. I wonder if it was simply a case of US/Soviet rivalry that the Russians would not back down from or whether they were following the dictates of their political masters to make sure that no living "Anastasia" could ever claim a Romanov inheritance. It's one of the remaining unsolved mysteries of the Romanov executions. I also find it interesting that Falsetti's world-class expertise earned him an invitation back to Siberia to examine the remains found in the second grave (see the National Geographic documentary Finding Anastasia
), even though many of his conclusions about the skeletons in the mass grave were flatly rejected by most of the Russian scientists.