Episode 184: Digging Up the Bodies: Debunking CSI and Other Forensics Myths
Ancient skull of a young woman killed by an arrow. From the Museum of Toulouse, France. Image courtesy of Didier Descouens, Wikimedia Commons
Thanks to modern technology most crimes these days can be neatly solved in under an hour. At least that's what fictional TV shows like CSI seem to suggest.
We wanted to address the so-called "CSI Effect," caused by the simplification of forensic science in popular culture. CSI and likeminded TV shows–with their heroic investigators solving crimes in mere minutes–mislead viewers and affect real court cases. The reality of investigation is much slower and more complex, but no less fascinating.
Hosts Michal Meyer and Robert Kenworthy speak with experts Anna Dhody, a physical and forensic anthropologist, and Lisa Rosner, a historian. They discuss the early days of solving crime and the on-going chemistry of the human body throughout life and death.
02:03 Past and present: the "CSI Effect"
05:00 Forensic science: its beginnings
06:40 Burke and Hare: the not-quite body snatchers
09:34 Digging up the bodies: mass murder in Peru
10:41 BREAK: call to the community
11:11 The chemistry of bodies
12:44 Skulls, phrenology, and race
17:49 Closing Credits
Links to content:
“Burked” Episode 1, Season 2: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
“Burke and Hare” An audio drama performed by the Wireless Theater Company.
"The Real CSI" PBS Frontline
“High Tech, High Risk Forensics” The New York Times
“Can Science Stop Crime?” NOVA
Hosts: Michal Meyer and Robert Kenworthy
Guests: Anna Dhody and Lisa Rosner
Producer: Mariel Waloff Carr
"Stabbings" by Moby, courtesy of Mobygratis.com
Image courtesy of Didier Descouens, Wikimedia Commons