Our Human Osteology course is based on and modeled after a very successful university semester-long Human Osteology laboratory course presented by Dr. Dennis C. Dirkmaat, a renowned, award-winning forensic anthropologist who has taught the class for nearly 30 years as a professor of Physical and Forensic Anthropology.
Dennis Dirkmaat, Ph.D., D-ABFA
Director, Applied Forensic Sciences Dept.
Professor of Anthropology
Dennis C. Dirkmaat, Ph.D., D-ABFA., is a board-certified forensic anthropologist (since 1996). He is the 2021 winner of the T. Dale Stewart Award for lifetime achievement in Forensic Anthropology, awarded by the Anthropology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS).
Dirkmaat is the Chair of both the undergraduate program in Applied Forensic Sciences and the Masters of Science in Anthropology (Forensic and Biological Anthropology) graduate program at Mercyhurst University, in Erie, PA. The master’s program is widely recognized as one of the top forensic anthropology graduate programs in the world. He was recently awarded the first ever (2020) Outstanding Mentor Award in the Anthropology Section of the AAFS.
Since 1986, Dr. Dirkmaat has conducted nearly 1000 forensic anthropology cases for over 70 coroners, medical examiners and state and local police in the US states of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, and Nevada. The cases have included recoveries of surface-scattered human remains, buried body features, fatal fire scenes, and mass disaster recoveries, as well as victim identification and skeletal trauma analyses. He has testified in court over 30 times as an expert witness.
Dr. Dirkmaat has published articles on the role of archaeology and forensic taphonomy in the field of forensic anthropology, and was instrumental in convincing the Physical Anthropology Section of the AAFS to change the name to the Anthropology Section. In 2008, he was the primary author of an influential state-of-the-field article on forensic anthropology for the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology. He is the editor of A Companion to Forensic Anthropology published in 2012 and contributed to six chapters in the book. He co-wrote the chapter detailing forensic archaeological practices in the United States for the book Forensic Archaeology: A Global Perspective, published in 2015.