headertest2ft_1.jpg
Public access radio that connects community members to one another and the world
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
FALL MEMBERSHIP DRIVE HAS STARTED | CLICK HERE TO RENEW OR BECOME A MEMBER!!!

Classroom Skeleton: Whose Bones Are These?

Remember that skeleton hanging in the front of your biology — or art — classroom?

It's possible those bones are not plastic, but actual human remains. A lot of classroom skeletons, in high schools, universities and medical schools, are real.

My high school in Erie, Pa., has one that has been hanging in the back of the art room for years. Students use it to draw and sculpt and learn about anatomy. For this episode of Skunk Bear, teachers and administrators let us borrow the skeleton. We then used a bunch of scientific tools — usually applied at crime scenes and archaeological digs — to investigate this person's past: Who was this person? And where did the bones come from?


Follow Skunk Bear, NPR's science show, on YouTube and Facebook.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elissa Nadworny reports on all things college for NPR, following big stories like unprecedented enrollment declines, college affordability, the student debt crisis and workforce training. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she traveled to dozens of campuses to document what it was like to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Her work has won several awards including a 2020 Gracie Award for a story about student parents in college, a 2018 James Beard Award for a story about the Chinese-American population in the Mississippi Delta and a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in innovation.
Ryan Kellman is a producer and visual reporter for NPR's science desk. Kellman joined the desk in 2014. In his first months on the job, he worked on NPR's Peabody Award-winning coverage of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. He has won several other notable awards for his work: He is a Fulbright Grant recipient, he has received a John Collier Award in Documentary Photography, and he has several first place wins in the WHNPA's Eyes of History Awards. He holds a master's degree from Ohio University's School of Visual Communication and a B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute.