Timelapse for the two-faced calfs skull being cleaned by the beetles.
I just thought it was the coolest thing ever so I tried to make a gif.
nom noM NOM NOM NOM
I got to see this. So cool!
"what a weird walnut" that squirrel probably thought.
OK no but here is the best bit THE SQUIRREL TOTALLY KNEW IT WASN’T A WALNUT AND SPECIFICALLY TARGETED IT BECAUSE IT WAS BONE.
Allow me to explain because this is one of my favorite things to come out of forensic taphonomy in the past decade.
Rodents—including squirrels—freaking love chowing down on some dry bone, especially if there’s a ridge or the edge of a socket or whatever that they can fit their mouths around. If they find one that they really enjoy laying around somewhere they can gnaw on it so much that the original shape is almost completely unrecognizable:
See the holes in the middle there? That’s where they chewed so far through the cortical bone that they perforated into the medullary/marrow cavity.
Look at those adorable little tooth marks.
They chew on bone mainly to get at the minerals within it. Which leads to the next coolest bit: they only like dry bone. You can get some incidental tooth marks from rats trying to peel the last slivers of soft tissue from exposed joints and dogs and other scavengers will chew on the ends of fresher bones and crack into the shafts of long bones trying to get at the remaining marrow, but squirrels aren’t interested until the bone has been exposed to the elements for at least a year or even up to three years, if it’s in a shaded location. Rodent gnawing had been noted on bones for forever, but the realization that rodents avoid chewing on green bone is much more recent (Klippel and Synstelien 2007; great paper if you can access it through academic sources, if not googling rodent gnawing on bone will pull up lots more pictures and explanations), and with that discovery is the implication that you can use rodent gnawing to mark how long remains have been laying out in the open. No rodent gnawing, either they’ve been protected in some way or they’ve been out there for around 15 months or less.
So when my squirrel thief scampered off with my duck’s bill he was more likely thinking “Aw sweet, free duck skull! Aged just the way I like it!”
Marathoning FBI Files while doing housework and cringing every time they ominously discuss lie detector results.
That shit’s not admissible evidence in US courts for a freaking good reason and they only deign to mention that about 25% of the time.
the great thing about anthropology is dead people don’t talk back
The backlog of rape kits has put justice on hold for a lot of people. Back in 2009, more than 11,000 untested kits were found in a Detroit Police Department storage facility. Some were more than 25 years old.
Mariska Hargitay speaks on some of the issues surrounding the rape kit backlog in Detroit, Michigan. #endthebacklog (x)
It costs between $1,000 – $1,500 to test every single rape kit. There are over 10,000 kits left in Detroit’s rape kit backlog. Your donation can go directly to testing them. Donate to the Detroit Crime Commission’s backlog initiative by clicking here.
I am pretty explicitly anti-police in every respect. But I support Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy and her push to catalogue the egregious backlog of unprocessed rape kits in Detroit.
Her work has already identified countless serial rapists in southeast Michigan, and will continue to identify these rapist pieces of shit as she moves forward.
Who cares if this process leads to conviction or not. Just give us the list. We can take care of the rest.
WHAT POLICE SHOULD BE DOING INSTEAD OF ENFORCING VIOLENCE
Just as some semi-relevant detail: Before she was known as the woman who made it her mission to test a backlog of rape kits, Kym Worthy was known for two things: 1) Successfully prosecuting the cops who killed Malice Green, one of the very few times you’ve seen white police officers convicted of killing a black man 2)successfully going after mayor Kwame Kilpatrick for….well…lots of things but importantly the corruption in his “personal” police force, the Executive Protection Unit, who were involved in a cover-up of Tamara Greene’s murder and may, though this has never been proven, have had something to do with her murder.
She’s also been a huge supporter of the work to get Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban overturned, and has done so from the framework of being an advocate for children in foster care, and the mother of an adopted special needs child.
This is a woman a long history of using her office to stand up to powerful people. She’s such a hero.
Cheeky session titles at the upcoming SAA conference in Austin:
"Those Dam Archaeologists"
Symposium on river basin surveys. Classic. Can’t wait for that one…
Read-more for those of y’all who don’t follow for academic articles about Forensics Stuff that Non-Forensic People Really Don’t Want to Think About. Take your cue from the very cleverly chosen comic above and decide if you’d like to know more.
A really excellent article. If anybody wants to learn more about the crash of American Airlines ﬂight 587 and the rest of the investigation it’s covered very well in the Air Crash Investigation episode “Queens Catastrophe”.
In due fairness to the people who’ve devoted their lives to making air travel as safe as possible (and for those who want something slightly less morbid to dwell upon when buckling up for a flight), the seatbelts do have important safety functions in a variety of possible air disasters. For example, they keep you in your seat (and thus not smashing into the walls or overhead compartments or even another passenger) in the event of sudden, extreme maneuvers like drops or banks or even sudden cabin depressurization (why you’re advised to keep the seat belt on unless you’re specifically getting up out of your seat). Many planes that experience problems in the air do regain control and are able to land safely, and the seat belt helps minimize injuries incurred until the plane stabilizes. Also, combined with the brace position they reduce injuries incurred during a crash or emergency landing, leaving survivors better equipped to evacuate the plane as quickly as possible in order to avoid succumbing to smoke and/or fire.
NUTSHELL STUDIES OF UNEXPLAINED DEATH:
In the early half of the 20th century, forensic science was non-existent. Police coroners did not have to be medically trained and crime-scene investigation was minimal. All this would be changed, however, by an elderly Chicago socialite with a penchant for dollhouses and death.
Inspired by her brother’s classmate and future chief medical examiner of Suffolk County, George Burgess Magrath, Mrs. Frances Glessner Lee dedicated her life to the advancement of the forensic sciences and is allegedly the inspiration for Jessica Fletcher of “Murder, She Wrote.” With Lee’s help, the Harvard Department of Legal Medicine was created in 1931, and through donations of manuscripts and money, it became the Magrath Library of Legal Medicine in 1934, an unprecedented compendium in the field of forensics.
Lee’s greatest contribution, however, was her 18 perfectly proportioned dioramas based on real-life crime scenes which she donated to the department in the 1940s. These painstakingly crafted dioramas include functioning locks and lights and details such as overturned cups, bullet-holes, and boxes of chocolates as well as miniature corpses in a variety of macabre positions.
Twice a year, Lee would hold week-long seminars where participants would scour the scenes for 90 minutes with only the aid of a flashlight and a magnifying glass, trying to deduce the details of the murders through the details of the dioramas.
After Lee’s death in 1962, the models were acquired by the Maryland Medical Examiner’s office and underwent $50,000 in restorations in the 1990s. They are still used as training tools.
Friend: My mom is a fan of your tumblr lol we died over the crystal skull vodka face!!
Me: Are you serious? Hahaha!
Friend: Haha I always go through your posts with her. My mom loves archaeology.
Me: I plan on trying to convince my supervisors to let me put it (Crystal Head Vodka Skull) into the forensic FORDISC program to see what race/ethnicity it spews out.
Friend: THATS A GREAT IDEA. DO IT
1) This made my day.
2) I think I need to make this happen. Cross your fingers my supervisors let me do it!
FORDISC: FORDISC 3.0 is an interactive computer program, running under Windows, for classifying adults by ancestry and sex using any combination of standard measurements. New features of FORDISC 3.0 are: larger number of variables, including postcranial variables; larger numbers of groups, including Howells’ world wide cranial data; improved pictorial guide to measurements, and improved file management and printer control. http://fac.utk.edu/fordisc.html
Using ForDisc, a decedent’s biological profile can be created based on measurements from various areas of bones, along with information about the person’s age, height, race, and illnesses. ForDisc uses standard anthropometric measurements including maximum length, maximum breadth, bi-zygomatic breadth, orbital breadth and height, maximum alveolar breadth and width, minimum frontal breadth, basion-bregma, basion-prosthion, cranial base length, bi-auricular breadth, upper facial height and breadth, foramen magnum breadth and length, frontal chord, parietal chord, occipital chord, nasal height and breadth, bi-orbital breadth, interorbital breadth, and mastoid length. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FORDISC
I love stuff like this because as useful a tool as FORDISC can be, it’s super-important when using it to take it in its full social context and to emphasize how the program is just as subject to human foibles and misuses as any other program and not to just blindly accept whatever results it spits out.
See also: the time they asked FORDISC to assign a likely racial identity to a soccer ball and it happily complied.
Freid DL, Jantz RL, Ousley SD (2005) The truth is out there: how NOT to use FORDISC. Poster presented at the 74th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists,Milwaukee, WI April 6