The MSU Forensic Anthropology Laboratory (MSUFAL) is housed within the Department of Anthropology, located in East Fee Hall. MSUFAL is under the direction of Dr. Joseph Hefner, a board certified forensic anthropologist. Dr. Todd Fenton (D-ABFA) and Dr. Carolyn Isaac serve as forensic anthropologists for MSUFAL and aid in forensic investigations.
Human vs. Nonhuman
Quick distinction between human and animal skeletal remains to determine if further analyses are necessary.
Positive Identification via Medical Radiographs
MSUFAL travels to medical examiner offices across central Michigan to perform comparative radiographic identifications. We compare radiographs taken during an individual’s life to those taken after death. Here, we look for consistent skeletal morphology and individualizing characteristics that will provide a conclusive identification.
The MSUFAL perform full skeletal analysis to determine the sex, age, ancestry, and stature for unidentified skeletal remains, as well document any other individualizing information. This information is then be entered into NamUs to search for potential matches with reported missing persons.
When trauma is observed on the skeleton, MSUFAL can provide information on the timing and type of injury to aid in cause and manner of death.
Field Recovery Assistance
MSUFAL uses their training in archaeological field methods to aid law enforcement in systematic recoveries of skeletal remains.