Janet Monge, “The Unknown Skeleton: Forensic Anthropology and the Unsolvable Case”

Science on Tap

Science on Tap is a monthly gathering that features a brief, informal presentation by a scientist or other expert followed by lively conversation.

On June 13, 2009, Janet Monge, professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and the Wagner Free Institute of Science, presented “The Unknown Skeleton: Forensic Anthropology and the Unsolvable Case.” Sticky bits, bones, rotting flesh, mummified tissues are the stuff of forensic anthropology. The science behind forensic anthropology is explored using a series of case studies. Most people do not know that the probability of success in these cases is very low and the identity of virtually every one of these individuals remains unknown. According to Monge, the CSI catch-phase “there is always a clue” certainly does not apply.

Presented by the Wagner Free Institute of Science.