Stanley Rhine’s Bone Voyage
The book Bone Voyage by Stanley Rhine describes, in stunning detail, the work of forensic anthropologists. The author works for the New Mexico Office of Medical Investigations. The OMI is in charge of investigating any death in New Mexico that is sudden, unnatural, untimely, unattended, or suspicious deaths. They work together with multiple agencies in many different jurisdictions. Bone Voyage gives a lifelike, almost sickly, reality to the important jobs dealt to forensic anthropologists.
The field of forensic anthropology is relatively young, with roots in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Its popularity continues to grow today, with TV shows like “Bones” and novels like “Coroner at Large.” The work of a forensic anthropologist is important in a historical and medicolegal context. Without the study of bones and death, lots of history would be lost forever, and murders would go unsolved. The first trial in the United States to use forensic anthropologist techniques was the Leutgert Sausage Trial in 1897. In this case a man who owned a sausage company was found with residual human skeletal remains in his vats at the sausage factory. George Dorsey, Harvard alum, identified the bones in the vat, and testified at trial. Although these techniques were not modern by any means, it paved a way for forensic anthropology in the US legal system. Again the importance of forensic anthropology was revealed during the outbreak of World War II. The