Most of us are familiar with the TV shows Bones and CSI. How do the scientific sleuths identify individuals from their skeletons?
Using actual forensic case examples, David Hunt, biological anthropologist at the Natural History Museum, walks through the methods of skeletal identification, illustrating how the museum’s Robert J. Terry Collection has been the genesis for metric and discrete trait standards.
The collection—one of the world’s most constantly studied skeletal series—is an invaluable reference for human skeletal variation and aging, assisting forensic anthropologists and skeletal biologists with today’s difficult forensic anthropology cases.
It is used to establish and verify the standards for evaluating biological profiles from human skeletons. Part of the Natural History Museum’s Physical Anthropology Division, this unique collection consists of 1,828 individuals with documented age, sex, ancestry, and cause of death, body measurements, as well as plaster death masks, and photographs of the cadaver.
At this noontime program, Hunt discusses the background of the collection and its importance in physical anthropology and biomedical research. Preview why the skeletons in the Robert J. Terry Collection are sometimes referred to as "crime fighters" on a short clip from the Smithsonian Channel.