Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bones Never Lie: Guest Post by Elizabeth MacLeod

Today, we have a guest post from Elizabeth MacLeod, author of Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History's Mysteries. Take it away, Detective MacLeod!

Have you seen all the news lately about the discovery of the bones of England’s King Richard III? His skeleton was found lying under a parking lot in Leicester, a small town in the middle of England. Scientists would still be wondering whose bones they really were if it weren’t for DNA analysis.

It’s amazing to think of how many long-time mysteries we might now be able to unravel, thanks to modern technology and crime-solving. For instance, in my new book Bones Never Lie, I look at how DNA testing has also answered many questions about the fate of Marie Antoinette’s son. But there are lots of other tools and techniques that detectives use to solve mysteries and crimes that have puzzled historians for centuries.

For instance, CT (computed tomography) scans let doctors take a three-dimensional look inside a patient’s body. And these scans also gave archaeologists lots of clues about what might have caused the death of Egypt’s most famous monarch, King Tut. CT scans of Tut’s mummy revealed the bone disease that made it hard for him to walk, the king’s buck teeth and cleft palate, and much more.

Autopsy, deductive reasoning, archaeological techniques, and crime scene procedures are just some of the other techniques historians and detectives use to solve history’s mysteries. Probably my favorite story in the book is the case of Russia’s Grand Duchess Anastasia. For decades, the world wondered if she had survived the 1918 slaughter that killed the rest of her family. Many people believed that a woman who became known as Anna Anderson was actually Anastasia.

In the days before modern technology, methods such as handwriting analysis, dental records, ear matching, facial comparison, and more were all used to try to establish Anna’s true identity, with no definite conclusions. Years after Anna’s death, using DNA testing, scientists revealed that—sorry, but you’re going to have to read Bones Never Lie to find out the solution to that mystery!

Are you dying to know the answer? Bones Never Lie is available for review on!

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