Forensics: Anthropology

Today we’re wrapping up our series looking at different parts of forensic science by investigating forensic anthropology. You might have seen the show “Bones” where Dr. Temperance Brennan uses forensic anthropology to solve crimes with Seeley Booth. We talked with Dr. Todd Fenton to see how similar reality is to fiction and what the work of a forensic anthropologist looks like.

Memorable Quotes

“The science of forensic anthropology is the application of the methods and theory within anthropology to the recovery and analysis of human remains, mainly to answer legal questions.”

“A forensic anthropologist is a human bone expert, is an identification expert, works closely with medical examiners and sometimes law enforcement.”

“We start from scratch- we oftentimes go to the medical examiner’s office and work with them at autopsy and then we bring the remains back to our lab…and we begin the analytical process. What we’re starting to do is developing the biological profile.”

“The work is…challenging, mainly because of the nature of the cases. The cases are very serious cases and I find them often to be very sad.”

“There’s never a case that I work that I’m not aware that no matter how interesting the case is, I don’t lose sight of the fact that this is some family’s worst day every. I think that’s something that’s really important for all of us to remember about cases in the forensic world.”


If you want more deep dive on today’s topic, check out the book Forensic Anthropology: Current Methods and Practice.

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