Anna Williams

Forensic Anthropologist

Anna Williams

I am a Forensic Anthropologist, which means I help the police to work out what has happened if they find a dead body or some bones.

I look at bodies and bones to find out who they belonged to, and to figure out as much as I can about the person before they died. I can look at a pile of bones and work out whether they’re from a boy or a girl, how old the person was when they died, where they were from and how tall they were. I can also say something about if they had any diseases while they were alive, if they had broken any bones, and tell the police how they died.

If someone has died in a suspicious way, one of the main questions that the police need to know the answer to is ‘how long ago did they die?’, and I can help with that.

I research how bodies change after death and, in particular, the smelly chemicals that are given out by a body, and see how they change as time passes. I use this to help train special dogs who can sniff out dead bodies when they are outside.

Anna is our Forensics box champion.

I love being a scientist because...

It helps me understand how life works.

The most awesome thing I have done so far is...

Presenting my work to thousands of people at conferences, and being on TV talking about dead bodies!

My heroes are...

Charles Darwin – he challenged the world’s belief system, and he was right!

Advice I would give my 7 year old self...

Don’t worry about what other people think of you. If you’re interested in something, pursue it.

At primary school my favourite thing to do was...

Spinning around and around pretending I was a superhero, writing stories, playing detectives.

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