Kayleigh Scotcher

Kayleigh Scotcher

BSc (Hons) Forensic Science graduate from Sheffield Hallam University. Now currently studying MSc Human Anatomy with Education at the University of Sheffield

Location University of Sheffield


  • @SeyiPearce Exactly - there may be damage to the soft tissue but if only skeletal remains are present then this would not be evident through osteological examination!

  • @KatherineYates Yes, exactly - DNA testing would definitely be used! However, if the DNA is degraded or the person's DNA isn't on the DNA database then identification would not be possible. Soft tissue would have to be removed so a cast of the skeleton can be made in order for forensic examination of the bones. I hope this helps :)

  • @SabineK Not a silly question at all - the term Asian is quite broad and experts in this field would be able to determine more specific details (such a region) using precise and detailed measurements of the varying features. For example, certain features may be a particular size in one region and can be used to narrow down the origin of the skull. This course...

  • @SusanCole Prognathism is when the jaw protrudes from the face and can be seen clearly in this diagram: https://bit.ly/2S61Tdu - I hope that's useful :)

  • Thank you for taking part in the course - it has been great to read your comments! Glad you enjoyed it :)

  • @LisaMcCarthy - these are great suggestions! I think you are right that these features could change whether someone would be identified and if there was evidence of piercings or makeup use they could take this into account when undergoing the reconstruction process! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Thanks for your comment @KatherineYates - forensic techniques can also be used in cases as you have mentioned (for example: checking for counterfeits)!

  • @KatherineYates Great to see you using your investigative mind to try to figure out what may have happened! These are all a possibility and would be followed up in an investigation!

  • @LornaMcCluskey Thanks for your comment! You are right that this would definitely complicate identification and reconstruction process!

  • @SusanCole You are right - thanks for pointing this out! A bog is acidic and therefore the body found in one would usually undergo a different type of decomposition process. The article briefly talks about 'bog bodies' in the mummified section. In the case of adipocere formation, the body would more like be found in a marsh rather than a bog.

    Exactly -...

  • @BeeC Both good examples! These would be cool, moist and anaerobic conditions! A marsh would also be an alkaline environment which would contribute to the process. Thanks for sharing :)

  • @CatherineMarshall-East - Glad you've learnt more about this side to forensics! Let us know if you have any questions about it :)

  • This all sounds great @DebbieDaley - looks like you will have a lot of background knowledge on this area and I look forward to reading your comments! :)

  • Hi Lisa, welcome to course! It will be great to see your comments on the forensic aspects of this course! I hope you enjoy it :)

  • Hi Jodie! Welcome to the course - I hope you enjoy it! Let us know if you have any questions :)

  • Thanks for sharing! This definitely helps us all understand what other features may have been present to indicate khat use!

  • @AnnieK It definitely can be challenging not being able to handle the skull! Did you find identifying the ethnicity easier or harder than identifying the sex of a skull?

  • @MarkDeGiovanni That sounds interesting! This would be an example of trace evidence. A fundamental in forensic science is the Locard's exchange principle - 'Every contact leaves a trace.'

    Paul L. Kirk explained the principle like this:
    "Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against...

  • What a great way to put it @PauletteTaba :)

  • @Clare-AnneReeves Forensic hair analysis is very interesting - you can use it to determine all sorts of things such as drug use and location! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • @MyriamMunoz That will be fantastic if you do! Thank you for taking part in the course - I hope you enjoyed it! :)

  • @ClaudiaSaucedo If a person performs physical activities this can have an effect on the skeleton. It may cause tendons of muscles to calcify and turn to bone if they are overused. Also, fractures may occur due to injury!

  • Hi @StevenStone - this method is definitely not as strong as DNA evidence. As DNA is unique to individuals, it can be very specific. However, skeletal features can vary and may not be as prominent/obvious. Therefore, it poses some limitations! The forensic specialist in this field can only share their expert opinion on their findings and, along with other...

  • You are absolutely right - all bones within the skeleton (if available) would be examined to determine sex and ethnicity. Thanks for your contribution :)

  • You raise a very interesting point about your portraits, @AnnieK - it just goes to show that very small changes to a person's appearance can affect identification! Therefore, all of the features you have listed may affect facial reconstruction and identification. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Thanks for sharing @KatarinaLiscakova - you are absolutely right, the mastoid process can be used in sexing of the skull. For people who are interested in reading more about this feature, here is a short summary of a research paper on the topic: https://bit.ly/2BB6JKw

  • @vickyroper Exactly - the smell simply could be from the body and it may be strange due to the decomposition process and the locations it could have been stored in! The plastic definitely would have had an effect on the body - it may have assisted in the adipocere formation or delayed the decomposition process but more examination would be required to...

  • @BethanBarnard You are absolutely right - bite mark evidence has been shown to have limitations and has not been established as a strong forensic tool. That being said, it could still be used in corroboration to strengthen a case!

  • @Brenda-JeanRice Unfortunately, I'm not sure about career opportunities in this area outside of the UK. It might be worth talking to a local careers advisor to see if they can help you with any enquiries! :)

  • @CaitlinBarrow - thank you for the comment! You are right, a lot of sources will show a fourth shaped skull. This can be seen in this image: https://bit.ly/2tl5CtO
    Your description seems to match that pretty closely! :)

  • @BarbaraK-S This can be done in numerous ways and it will depend on what forensic lab is undergoing the procedure, what the remains will be used for and the availability of materials and equipment. Common methods include soft tissue maceration, different types of boiling and the use of insects (like you have mentioned). This paper (PDF download) goes into more...

  • Hi @PauletteTaba - glad you enjoyed the course! The printed certificate should get mailed to you within two to five weeks after you qualify for it. The FAQs on certifications can be found here: https://about.futurelearn.com/about/faq?category=certificates-and-statements but let us know if you have any other questions :)

  • Welcome @CatherineMarshall-East - sounds like you have a strong interest in the subject! Looking forward to reading your comments :)

  • Welcome to the course @CherylHackett - hopefully you will learn a lot about forensics and facial reconstruction throughout the course! Please feel free to ask any questions you may have :)

  • Don't worry about starting late @JeanCrapper - welcome to the course! Let us know if you have any questions :)

  • I'm glad you enjoyed it @MaureenHuggins - thank you for all of your comments and taking part! :)

  • @LisaMcCarthy Absolutely - using this muscle every day would contribute to its strength! It is, however, naturally the strongest because its function is to help us chew food and, therefore, needs to exert large amounts of force to do this! It definitely can weaken if not used or if the nerves supplying the muscle are damaged! Thanks for bringing this point up! :)

  • Glad you've enjoyed the course @KerinFreeman - thank you for taking part! :)

  • These are all great suggestions @KerinFreeman - these are all factors which may not be determined from forensic examination and therefore can be a limitation! Thanks for sharing :)

  • I think you're right @KerinFreeman - having the basic anatomical knowledge could help budding artists understand the different proportions of a face!

  • @DonnaHuntriss The cold environment of Yorkshire could contribute to the decomposition process! However, one of the main conditions which contributes to adipocere formation is the lack of oxygen (an anaerobic environment). Can you think of any examples of places which would fit this description?

  • The sizes and shapes are fairly consistent due to the general anatomy (they will originate from a particular area on a bone and attach to another specific structure). However, variation does occur and this can be difficult to account for. The depth of the muscles will vary depending on sex and ethnicity and experts can use tables created from anatomical...

  • Are there any forensic/crime related documentaries you recommend for other learners? :)