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Human Skeletal Biology Lab

The UNC Human Skeletal Biology Teaching Lab houses a collection of eight complete human skeletons and several additional skulls and other skeletal elements that were sourced through body donation.  As a result, demographic information and cause of death is known for most individuals. Additionally, the lab houses an extensive array of casts and plastic replicas of human skeletons representing many pathological conditions, examples of skeletal trauma, and other teaching tools.  This first-rate osteological collection allows our students to gain hands-on experience working with human skeletons, and allows them to practice techniques used by Forensic Anthropologists and Bioarchaeologists. 

Students examine mock skeletons in the lab.

Students in the Forensic Anthropology (ANT 330) class complete a mock excavation of a plastic human skeleton in the field. This skeleton is then replaced with a real skeleton in the lab and students analyze aspects of the biological profile (age, sex, stature, or ancestry). They then testify about their analyses in a mock trial. In this hands-on class, students spend most of their time working with real human skeletons to gain and practice Forensic Anthropological skills.

Students in Bioarchaeology (ANT 395) also analyze an individual and create an osteobiography based on their analyses. In this way they are able to use the knowledge they gain to recreate a possible life history for an individual skeleton.

The collections in the Human Skeletal Biology Teaching Lab are also available for students to conduct independent research projects and test their own hypotheses.

Mock Forensic Investigation

Contact Dr. Britney Kyle to learn more!