Forensic Anthropology Program Joins TRACES in Decomposition Project

in Academics, General News, Homepage
July 2nd, 2014

The Graduate Program in Forensic Anthropology, within the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences at Boston University School of Medicine has been invited to participate in a multi-site international taphonomy (decomposition) study to establish the natural decomposition of tissues from day zero until they become fully skeletonized or mummified. BU’s team, including Program Director, Dr. Tara Moore, Associate Director, Dr. Donald Siwek and Board Certified Forensic Anthropologist Dr. James Pokines has committed to the placement of 10  pigs in their decomposition field, located on 32 acres in Holliston, MA. They will be documenting temperature, rain and the progression of decomposition. The data collection includes recordings of a Total Body Score subject to a graded scale for the head and neck area, trunk and limbs. The ultimate endpoint is when samples achieve full skeletonization and the decomposition process has come to a stop. This particular project is expected to reveal how decomposition is affected by temperature changes around the globe and contribute to the understanding and interpretation of taphonomic data.

Along with Boston University, The Taphonomic Research in Anthropology: Centre for Experimental Studies (TRACES) has invited 4 other institutions, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Central Lancaster, U.K., Turkish Police Forensic Laboratory-Ankara Turkey and The Ministry of Justice-Bangkok, Thailand.

The  Forensic Anthropology program at BUSM is designed to train individuals in the theory, practice, and methods of biological and skeletal anthropology employed by forensic anthropologists in medicolegal death investigations. Students receive extensive training in osteology, forensic anthropological techniques and procedures, forensic anthropology field methods, biological anthropology theory, taphonomy, human anatomy, crime scene investigation and methods of human identification. This is a full-time 42 credit Master of Science program. To learn more about this program and others, please visit the Graduate Medical Sciences website.