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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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skull

Most of the modern skeletal specimens in Written in Bone come from two remarkable research collections.

 

The Robert J. Terry Anatomical Collection

view of a room in the Terry Collectio
Researchers in the Robert J. Terry Anatomical Collection. Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution

Today the Robert J. Terry Anatomical Collection is the most intensively studied research collection in the Smithsonian Institution. Many of the basic techniques for reading the age and sex of human remains emerged as researchers compared the detailed, identified "bone biographies" of the 1,700 individuals now in this collection, which was assembled between 1898 and 1967.

The University of Tennessee William M. Bass Donated Skeletal Collection

Professor Richard Jantz with students
Professor Richard Jantz, University of Tennessee, with students. Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution

As a contemporary collection, the University of Tennessee William M. Bass Donated Skeletal Collection better reflects the present-day American population. All of the 750 skeletons in the still-growing collection were generous donations to science.
 
Want to learn more about one
individual who is part of this collection?

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