Forensic anthropologist Doug Owsley discusses the skeletal specimens in a new exhibit at the Natural History Museum

Meet the Scientist Who Reads Bones

Doug Owsley is the Smithsonian’s bone detective and can read a human skeleton, like you can read this post

Doug Owsley is the Smithsonian's bone detective. Doug can read a human skeleton, like you can read this post. He's a forensic anthropologist and for the last two decades, Doug along with his assistant Kari Bruwelheide, has been called in to help with some of the country's most notorious crime scenes and tragedies—Branch Davidians, Jeffrey Dahmer, the Pentagon after 9/11.

And just as a host of new forensic tools, DNA analysis, the electron microscope have enhanced crime scene investigations, so has it furthered the study and analysis at prehistoric and historic dig sites. At Jamestown, VA, and St. Mary's City, Md, Doug and Kari have been working a with a team of forensic investigators to uncover the lost stories of the men and women who settled in these early colonial outposts. The new exhibition, "Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th Century Chesapeake," is an eye into scientific discovery and the history it has revealed. Meet Doug as he takes us on a tour of the exhibition above and check out our feature, too.

About Beth Py-Lieberman
Beth Py-Lieberman

Beth Py-Lieberman is the museums editor, covering exhibitions, events and happenings at the Smithsonian Institution. She has been a member of the Smithsonian team for more than two decades.

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