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Behind the Yellow Tape Behind the Yellow Tape

Behind the Yellow Tape

You see a lot of “Authorized Personnel Only” signs in the lab of Ann Ross, director of NC State’s Forensic Sciences Institute and professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

That’s because Ross’ lab holds the contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to handle forensic anthropology casework for the State of North Carolina. Her group handles around 30 cases per year, using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to identify victims and determine what kind of tools were used in their deaths or dismemberments.

Professor Ann Ross with student

For Ross’s team, bones are the key to learning not only about someone’s death, but also about their life. “Bones tell me the life history of a person,” Ross said. Her team is developing new standards for human identification, including techniques to more accurately assess an individual’s age at death based on bone mineral density of the femur.

Go inside this active forensic and teaching lab.

(The original version of this story appeared in the College of Sciences digital magazine.)