Sue Black on the Science Focus Podcast © Getty Images

Sue Black: What stories do our skeletons tell?

Professor Sue Black reveals how forensic anthropologists search for the criminal secrets that are etched on the bones of victims.

In today’s episode, we’re chatting to Professor Sue Black, an anatomist and forensic anthropologist. You might’ve seen characters doing her job on television, in shows like NCIS or Silent Witness – although, they’re not quite an accurate portrayal, as you’ll find out.


Over the course of her career, Sue has worked with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the United Nations, helping to identify victims and perpetrators from only sections of their bodies – perhaps a finger found in a bin bag, or the back of an assaulter’s hand caught on film. Her work has taken her to places such as Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq.

She talks to us about how science helps her piece together fragmented parts of a human jigsaw. This episode contains some graphic content, including descriptions of criminal acts and dissection, that some listeners might find upsetting.

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