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Students study skeletal remains for forensic anthropology lesson

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Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess.”

Flower Mound High School Anatomy and Physiology students in Demona Shipman’s class recently dusted off a few bones for a forensic anthropology lab.

“I hope students will take what we’ve been talking about in class and understand how when people study and measure bones, they can determine gender and ethnicity,” Shipman said. “This lesson will give them a real-world experience of this.”

Upon entering the lab, students opened a case file complete with a forensic anthropology guide – a guide to
skeletal landmarks, measuring tape, protractor and a human bone.

Simply by measuring and examining the bone – and referencing their guide – students were able to document the bone’s age, ancestry and stature.

“I think this lab is cool because you can tell a lot from a person just from their bones and what shape they are in without even seeing them as a living human being,” student Ellen Warner said.

“It is interesting how people from different regions of the world can have different body types and different skeletal characteristics just because they are from a different part of the world.”

Students also liked how the lab helped them recognize bones separate from the skeleton.

“Before we started studying bones, I could name a bone when looking at the human skeleton, but now we are getting to the point where we see a bone individually and know which one it is,” student Dane Marwood said.

See more pictures of forensic anthropology lab here.

Liz Haas is the west zone communications coordinator for the Lewisville Independent School District.

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