Forensic scince mini project!

Kathy Reichs

Kathy was born in 1948 and is 65 years old she is an forensic anthropologist. She also wrote the books Bones. It then went on to become a T.V series she became one of the producers of the program.


Where and what she studied?

Kathy got her Bachelors of Arts degree in anthropology in 1971 when she was 24. Anthropology is the study of human species past and present. She started studying how are bodies have evolved over time from prehistoric times to modern times. She  was also interested in the connections between monkeys and human bodies especially the similarities between them.


She then got into looking at anthropology through a forensic scientist’s view. This meant finding dead bodies and identifying them. How long they had been there for, who killed them and who they were.



Kathy completed a Master of Arts in physical anthropology. A master of arts is based on communicating clearly collecting evidence and thinking critically. Then she completed her Ph.D. in physical anthropology all at northwestern university, Chicago. Physical anthropology is finding dead bodies and indentifying them.





How does Forensic Anthropology help police solve crimes?


It indentifies who the dead body is and how long ago it was killed. Therefore, if someone went missing on Friday and police found a dead body on Monday. Forensic anthropologists would indentify how long the body had been there for and if it had looked and had been identified to have been there since Friday. It might be the person who went missing. They would then try to find out who killed them and who is was













































Forensic anthropology experiment


Aim of experiment

To study how much flesh and vegetable matter decomposes:

(a) when buried underground in soil and

(b) when exposed in the natural air.


This might help us to understand how flesh decomposes in different conditions. This is useful knowledge as in police investigations, bodies are found buried and sometimes are found out in the air. Knowing how fast bodies decompose helps police guess how long a body has been dead.



The researchers buried one piece of chicken with bone underground in soil. The researchers also left a similar piece of chicken with bone exposed to the air. Both pieces were then examined 24 hours later.


The researchers took photographs of the chicken pieces to compare how much each had decomposed and looked for any differences.



The purpose of this experiment is to see how flesh decomposes. If we understand the speed of decomposition, it helps us understand the way real human bodies might decompose in different conditions. This is like the experiments that forensic anthropologists like Kathy Reichs carry out to help police investigate real crimes.


Conditions for this experiment

Day 1 temperature at 5.30pm – 25 degrees Celsius.

Day 2 temperature – average 19 degrees Celsius with some rain.






















Day one

Photos of the chicken BEFORE it was buried.

Description – no smell, light pink colour. Shiny. Bone looks fresh and white.




















Day two


Photos of chicken AFTER 24 hours being buried. Description- Condition – very smelly!! Flesh is slightly blue. Bone is grey and not shiny.


























After being buried for 24 hours.

Condition – very smelly!! Flesh is slightly blue. Bone is grey and not shiny.

















Photo after 24 hours being left out in the air

































Photos of the chicken BEFORE it was left out in the air.

Description – no smell, light pink colour. Shiny. Bone looks fresh and white.


















































A photo of the chicken AFTER it was left out in the air.

Description – . Very smelly!! Ants on it, Darker red then before and bone dried up and a little grey.


Please note the photo says it was the chicken that was buried. In fact this is the chicken that was left out in the air.




























Conclusion to experiment


The conclusion is that if chicken or a body is left out in the open it decomposes more quickly than a body left under ground. This is because the body is more exposed to things like ants different and types of temperatures

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