JANUARY 31, 2013
John Byrd- Laboratory Director, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command

Forensic anthropology is the practical application of biological anthropology to forensic problems. Due to its applied nature, many within and outside the profession presume that there is no theory to guide the scientific work, nor an underlying philosophy to be understood. This presentation will pull the cover off of the scientific philosophy that underlies forensic anthropology, and show that it is both cogent and vibrant. Indeed, the philosophical foundation is the basis for all testing in forensic anthropology, and determines how statistics can be usefully brought to bear in real casework. Even in the applied world of forensic science, philosophy, theory, and method must be rigorously tied together.

DR. JOHN BYRD received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1994 and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. He joined the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s Central Identification Laboratory in August 1998 as a Forensic Anthropologist. Dr. Byrd became a Laboratory Manager in 1999 and the Laboratory Director in 2009. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Forensic Sciences and as the Treasurer for the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. Dr. Byrd has published a monograph through the North Carolina Archaeological Council, co-edited the book Recovery, Analysis, and Identification of Commingled Human Remains, and written articles for the Journal of Field Archaeology, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, Forensic Sciences International, Journal of Forensic Sciences, as well as others.

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