By Addason Harris | Bradley Central High School
A few Health Science students from Bradley Central High School visited the William M. Bass Forensic Anthropology Building (commonly referred to as “the Body Farm”) on October 29. They learned much about the many different occupations in the medical field. While they were there, they handled real human bones, and they learned about the many processes that occur daily.
They began by learning how the analysts at the Body Farm (students and professors) determine whether a specimen they have been brought is able to be investigated. They follow three steps: determining if it is bone, discover if it is human, and decide if it is forensic or not. This gave an interesting insight into the daily mechanics of the Farm.
Then, they were taught about the two hundred or so bodies on the 2-3 acre premises and how they must examine them daily for signs of decomposition. This allows students and professors to study the decay of the human body and its many ins and outs. After around two years of being in the Forensic Anthropology Building, or FAC, each body’s bones are put into storage holding.
Bradley Central senior Ellie Waters had a lot to say about the trip.
She explains, “My teacher thought that going to the William M. Bass Forensic Anthropology Building would be an interesting and fun experience for students wanting to enter the medical field.” Ellie also expressed her excitement for applying the courses she has already taken in class to real life. She said, “We had recently studied the skeletal system, so getting to examine real human skeletons was really cool!”
The FAC anthropologists showed the students two full skeletons, and they allowed them to determine if they were male or female while also explaining how to determine the gender of a skeleton.
Ellie explains, “The two laid out were female. They also had part of a skeleton which was male, and we could determine that by the size of their mastoid process, or the “sharpness” or angle of the mandible (jawbone).” Field trips and experiences like these are amazing ways to help students find a career path they would enjoy following for the rest of their lives. Bradley Central and Bradley County are fortunate to have such opportunities for its CTE students and faculty.