Monday, March 7, 2011

Forensic Anthropology Lab

We went down to DC today for a forensic anthropology lab at the Natural History Museum.  It was pretty cool! The kids got to handle and study real human bones. 

Jared was way into touching these bones and using critical thinking to solve this mystery.

Jenna was more into recording the information!  She didn't want anything to do with touching the bones but enjoyed participating in drawing conclusions based on our evidence ;)

We were to study different bones of a skeleton found around Yorktown, VA and to solve a mystery of who these bones belonged to.  We were given clues and information about each of the bones and how the different characteristics of these bones would help lead us to discover the sex, age and height of the person, what type of lifestyle they lived based upon damage to bones while living, and time period that this person lived in. 

We compared male and female sciatic notches, in the pelvic bones (check me out, people!), which helped us to determine that this was a woman.  Examining the damage on the vertebrae done antemortem helped us to find that this person often carried heavy weight.  We compared and examined different mandibles to determine the age of the person and found that she was over age 21. Nails that were used to close the coffin dated them to be around the 1700's.  We measured the femur to determine the height, which was around 5'5". 

We found out that these were skeletal remains of a slave during the 1700's!

It was fun to get out for some hands-on science, math and history today.

And...the daffodils are starting to bloom! Spring is on the way :)


  1. Wow this looks familiar! ;) So glad you guys got to go to one of these. Wasn't it cool?!?! We had a different case when we went. Did they have that one femur that was grossly deformed? That was wild. lol!

  2. Cooooool! Did you happen to run into Booth while you were solving the case? ;)