Tuesday, March 26, 2019

7th year of Science on Tap

Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History


 A time to eat, drink & talk about science!

on Central

Join us Thursday, April 11* at 5:30

Research and Casework in Forensic Anthropology and Bioarchaelogy

Amy Michael
Adjunct Instructor
University of New Hampshire  

Forensic anthropologists are uniquely suited to assist law enforcement solve complex and cold cases involving skeletonized human remains. As specialists in human osteology, forensic anthropologists can determine the age, sex, and ancestry from a set of human remains, determine if small fragments of bone are human or animal, and even identify human remains from plane crashes, fires, and other mass disasters. In this presentation, various typical (and atypical!) cases will be reviewed, with a focus on current research related to the effects of opioid abuse on human bone. Finally, the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls epidemic will be summarized from a forensic anthropology perspective.

Amy Michael is a biological anthropologist specializing in the investigation of human tooth and bone microstructure in an effort to answer questions about past and modern bodies. Using the principles of skeletal biology, Michael asks questions about health, pathology and age-at-death to better understand people in the past and present. With training in bioarchaeology, forensic anthropology and historical archaeology, Amy has worked on field projects in the United States, Belize and Albania. She is currently a senior staff member on the Central Belize Archaeological Survey project run through Michigan State University (www.anthropology.msu.edu/cbasproject). On this project, Michael’s role is to excavate and interpret a series of mortuary caves and rockshelters in Central Belize with a focus on addressing questions of social identity through the lens of mortuary variability. Michael is currently collaborating with researchers at Idaho State University, Michigan State University and the Ada County Coroner's Office (Boise, ID) on projects related to the examination of human rib microstructure to answer questions about age-at-death estimation in forensic cases, as well as the effects of opioid abuse on the accuracy of age-at-death estimations. Aside from a methods-based approach to forensic anthropology research, Michael is passionate about bringing a social justice perspective to her work on forensic cold cases. Michael spent six years working for the Michigan State University Campus Archaeology Program (campusarch.msu.edu) so she is also interested in historic archaeology and gendered landscapes of the past.

*April 11, 2019 (Note: 2nd Thursday of the month!)

May 2, 2019
David T. Hanson
UNM Biology
Research being conducted on the International Space Station involving plants