By: Genevieve Scholl
A while back I had planned to write a post about my Forensic Anthropology class, but had never found enough information to write a good lengthy blog that tells you all about the class in detail or about Forensic Anthropology in general. Now, I have enough information to do just that. The only Forensic Anthropology class on our campus is during Thursday nights from 6-9PM. It is taught by Guinevere Granite, the best professor ever!
She has a masters in Forensic Science and a masters in Anthropology, so she is the tops! She is young, funny, and makes class enjoyable. But, more than all of those things, she enjoys her work and in turn we enjoy it as well. That good vibe coming off of her helps the class relax and take our time to get to understand the material. It is a respectful field and one that I hope to get into one day in my lifetime.
Meet “Fred”… We don’t know who he was for real, but that was the name he was granted with when the class first started working with the skeletons. He is a complex skeleton with sutures, vertebrae, carpals, tarsals, and fuses. However, he is a skeleton that has been helping us in the class since day one. We have learned every bone in the body, where they are, how to side them from left and right, and as of last night, we learned how to figure out the age of the skeleton. Skeletons can be a surprisingly good form of figuring out what happened to a person. Of course you know that bullets penetrate bone, objects can crack bone, and certain diseases can effect bone in different ways. However, bones can also help us to determine age (like I said before), race, sex, location (sometimes), and even lifestyle. Bones are a crazy and wonderful thing!
This class is teaching me a lot more than I was expecting. I thought I knew most of what I would be learning, but I was dead wrong. Haha, get it? Dead wrong… Anyway, enough with the corny puns. I hope this post has gotten you thinking, and maybe interested in the field of Forensic Anthropology.
Now, for the second part of my post. For my presentation at the end of the class, I am reading “The Bone Woman” by Clea Koff. Clea Koff is a famous Forensic Anthropologist. As the back of the book says, “In 1994, Rwanda was the scene of the first acts since World War 2 to be legally defined as genocide. Two years later, Clea Koff, a twenty-three year old forensic anthropologist, left the safe confines of a lab in Berkeley California, to serve as one of the sixteen scientists chosen by the United Nations to unearth the physical evidence of the Rwandan genocide.” That is the case she is most famous for, but the book talks about her experiences before that case and the wonderful doctors she worked with that inspired her. It is an enchanting book about the field of Forensic Anthropology and about the different aspects that anthropologists look for when they discover bones. Now, if you are not very savvy with scientific words (like sun-bleached or GSW or Maxillary), it is a little slow of a read. However, Clea defines most of the more difficult ones right in the reading. I suggest that anyone interested in this field or science in general pick up this book and read it at least once.
Clea is a brilliant woman and definitely someone I will remember throughout my career and strive to be like… Along with Guinevere Granite.