Becoming a Forensic Anthropologist
Our ability to read the "lives" in skeletons is constantly growing. We have many new technologies and methods for analyzing bone. But much of our progress has come from knowledge available only in research collections of human skeletal remains. They allow us to better understand human adaptations and the human experience.
Physical access to human (and non-human) skeletons is an important training, practice and research issue. Skeletons of all ages, sizes, both sexes and various causes of death not only helps the student learn but can be an important factor in solving questions about a person's death by comparison with other skeletons. Skeletal research collections that represent both past and present-day populations will train the next generation of forensic anthropologists.
The following videos present some of the highlights of Forensic Anthropology in action.
Video: Bone Biographies of Early Americans
Forensic anthropologists engage in both field work and analysis back at the lab to complete their case studies.
Video: Unearthing the Evidence: Burial Excavations
Watch how teams of archaeologists document and excavate burial sites. The video includes footage taken on-site during the recovery of burials at Jamestown and Historic St. Mary's City. Video courtesy of the History Channel.
Video: Meet the Smithsonian's Bone Detectives
These are some of the tools forensic anthropologists at the National Museum of Natural History use to analyze human bones. What do the bones reveal about the individuals they belonged to? Video courtesy of the History Channel.