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The Nitty Gritties of an Anthropologist

Let me introduce Linda Spurlock, a professor in the department of Anthropology, Ohio who works as a biological anthropologist and facial reconstruction artist when she is not teaching. She tries to find out how one would have looked like before dying, which helps the forensic department in the other way round. Spurlock initiates the work by measuring the bones and researching the hairstyle profile, which opens up investigation leads for the researchers and exact facial features are revealed. It further helps in the identification of the dead. Once the cross examinations are over, the DNA of the victim is matched with that of the other family members, prior to airing the identification. Till now, Spurlock assisted in the identification of two victims, one of which was that of a 4-years old boy, whose body was found in the dump yard of a vacant home. Immediately after the sketch was released, the mother of the child called up police.

However, to work on these platforms requires a lot of confidence, which is the toughest part of the job. One has to leave behind all emotions and have a rational approach while solving any problem which is quite difficult for many. In fact, Spurlock also faced these initial hiccups during her workshop sessions in Puerto Rico, in a prehistoric cemetery, where interns were made to do several faces a day.

Whatsoever be the fact, the challenges involved in the profession of biological anthropologist and facial reconstruction artist will always keep fascinating me.

By: Subrata Dey


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