WEBCAST: Forensic Anthropology- Bone Whispering

Watch the archive of the webcast featuring Kari Bruwelheide. In the show, Kari reveals how human bones can tell stories of people's lives in the past.

Smithsonian Science How: Forensic Anthropology - Bone Whispering

Featuring Forensic Anthropologist Kari Bruwelheide

Kari Bruwelheide is a Forensic Anthropologist and Physical Anthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Join her in understanding what skeletons can tell you about how people lived and died. Probe into the mysteries contained in human bones. See the sophisticated technologies being used to extract information from bones, and think about what technologies might enhance the study of bones in the future. Consider what an old skeleton reveals about  people and places of the past. Learn how Kari is analyzing skeletal remains in conjunction with historical records and other artifacts to recreate a picture of human life in the Colonial Chesapeake.

Watch a recording of the February 27, 2014, webcast above. The show aligns with national science standards and national social studies standards

Read Kari's answers to student questions

How do you participate in the webcast program?

1. WATCH the archive video

2. Get TEACHING RESOURCES for the webcast

3. Design an ASSESSMENT for your students


The Forensic Anthropology Webcast Package supports students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations by offering a set of resources that integrate science concepts with science practice skills.

MS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  • MS-LS1-1 Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells
  • MS-LS1-5 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms

MS-PS1 Matter and its Interactions

  • MS-PS1-2 Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred


The Forensic Anthropology Webcast Package supports students in meeting the Social Studies listed below by offering a set of resources that integrate anthropology concepts with anthropology skills. 

Time, Continuity, and Change

  • Studying the past makes it possible for us to understand the human story across time. 
  • Knowledge and understanding of the past enable us to analyze the causes and consequences of events and developments, and to place these in the context of the institutions, values and beliefs of the periods in which they took place. 
  • Knowing how to read, reconstruct and interpret the past allows us to answer questions such as: How do we learn about the past? How can we evaluate the usefulness and degree of reliability of different historical sources?

People, Places, and Environments

  • The study of people, places, and environments enables us to understand the relationship between human populations and the physical world.  
  • During their studies, learners develop an understanding of spatial perspectives, and examine changes in the relationship between peoples, places and environments.