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Daniel J. Wescott

Dr. Daniel Wescott, Forensic Anthropology Faculty

Director of the Forensic Anthropology Center
Professor of Anthropology

Office: Grady Early Building 111, 1921 Old RR 12
Phone: (512) 245-1945
Website - FACTS
Website - Academia

Research and Teaching Interests: Forensic anthropology, bone biomechanics, human skeletal variation, bioarcheaology

I am a biological anthropologists with a research focus on developing and testing forensic anthropological methods for reconstructing biological profiles, trauma patterns, and the post mortem interval. I also use long bone biomechanics to reconstruct activity patterns and behavior in past populations, and test hypotheses regarding changes in human skeletal morphology due to evolutionary and secular forces. I am also a dedicated teacher and mentor with experience directing undergraduate and graduate (MA, MS, PhD) students.

Wescott TX State CV Aug 2020 (PDF, 516 KB)
August 2020 CV

Recent Publications

Kootker, Lisette M., Isabella C.C. von Holstein, Jelle Broeder, Daniel J. Wescott, Gareth R. Davies, Hayley L. Mickleburgh. 2020. The effects of decomposition and environment on antemortem H-Sr-Pb isotope compositions and degradation of human scalp hair: an actualistic experiment. Forensic Science International 312,110336.

Cunningham, Deborah L., Melinda V. Rogers, Daniel J. Wescott, and Robert C. McCarthy. 2019. Re-evaluation of the body mass estimates for the KNM-ER 5428 Homo erectus talus. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 170(1):148-155.

Wescott, Daniel J. 2019. Biomechanical analysis of long bones provides the crucial break in decedent identification. In Case Studies in Forensic Anthropology: Bonified Skeletons, edited by Heather Garvin and Natalie Langley. CRC Press [Chapter 4].

Wescott, Daniel J. 2019. Postmortem changes in bone mechanical properties: loss of plasticity. Forensic Science International 300:164-169. Special issue: Perimortem Trauma, edited by Douglas H. Ubelaker.

Wescott, Daniel J. 2018. Recent advances in forensic anthropology: decomposition research. Forensic Sciences Research 3(4):278-293. Special Issue: Recent Advances in Forensic Anthropology, edited by Douglas H. Ubelaker.

Gordon, Gwyneth W., Tiffany Saul, Dawnie Wolfe Steadman, Daniel J. Wescott, Kelly Knudson. 2018. Preservation of hair stable isotope signatures during freezing and law enforcement evidence packaging. Forensic Chemistry 11:108-119.

Murray, Bryce, Derek T. Anderson, Daniel J. Wescott, Robert Moorhead, Melissa Anderson. 2018. Survey and insights into unmanned aerial vehicle-based detection and documentation of clandestine graves and human remains. Human Biology 90(1):3 (doi:10.13110/humanbiology.90.1.03).

Mickleburgh, Hayley L. and Daniel J. Wescott. 2018. Controlled case study on joint disarticulation and bone displacement of a human body in an open pit: implications for funerary archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 20:158-167.

Cunningham, Deborah L., Ronda R. Graves, Daniel J. Wescott, and Robert C. McCarthy. 2018. The effect of ontogeny on estimates of KNM-WT 15000's adult body size. Journal of Human Evolution 121:119-127.

Christensen, Angi M., Michael A. Smith, Devora Gleiber, Deborah L. Cunningham, and Daniel J. Wescott. 2018. The use of industrial and other alternative CT technologies in forensic anthropology. Forensic Anthropology 1(2):124-140.

Wescott, Daniel J., Dawnie Wolfe Steadman, Nicole Miller, Kelly Sauerwein, Chaunesey M. Clemmons, Devora S. Gleiver, Chloe P. McDaneld, Lauren A. Meckel, Joan A. Bytheway. 2018. Validation of total body score/accumulated degree day mode at three human decomposition facilities. Forensic Anthropology 1(3):143-149.

Wescott, Daniel J. 2018. The forensic anthropologist as broker for interdisciplinary taphonomic theory. In: CC Boyd, DC Boyd (eds.): Forensic Anthropology: Theoretical Framework and Scientific Basis, New York: Wiley, pp. 251-270

Meckel, Lauren A., Chloe McDaneld and Daniel J. Wescott. 2018. White-tailed deer as a taphonomic agent: photographic evidence of a white-tailed deer gnawing on human bone (case report). Journal of Forensic Sciences 63(1):292-294.

Fancher, J.P., J.A. Aitkenhead-Petersen, T. Farris, K. Mix, A.P. Schwab, D.J. Wescott, M.D. Hamilton. 2017. An evaluation of soil chemistry in human cadaver decomposition islands: potential for estimating postmortem interval (PMI). Forensic Science International 279:130-139.

Thomas, Torri B., Sheree Finley, Jeremy E. Wilkinson, Daniel J. Wescott, Azriel Gorski, and Gulnaz Javan. 2017. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine 49:43-49.

Wescott, Daniel J. and Lauren Rockhold Zephro. 2016. Secular change in femur diaphyseal biomechanical properties of American whites. Human Biology 88(1):.

Wedel, Vicki and Daniel J. Wescott. 2016. Using dental cementum increment analysis to estimate age and season of death in African Americans from an historic cemetery in Missouri.  International Journal of Paleopathology [in press,].

Alexander, Michael B., TK Hodges, Daniel J. Wescott, and Jacqueline A. Aitkenhead-Peterson. 2016. The effects of soil texture on the ability of human remains detection dogs to detect buried human remains. Journal of Forensic Sciences 61(3):649-654.

Bates, Lennon and Daniel J. Wescott. 2016. Variation in the rate of decomposition between autopsied and non-autopsied remains. Forensic Sciences International 261:93-100.

Wescott, Daniel J. and Jessica L. Drew. 2015. Effects of obesity on the reliability of age-at-death indicators of the pelvis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156:595-605.

Aitkenhead-Peterson, Jacqueline A., Michael B. Alexander, Joan A. Bytheway, David O. Carter, Daniel J. Wescott. 2015. Application of soil chemistry in forensic entomology. In Jeffery K. Tomberlin and M. Eric Benbow (eds.) International Dimensions and Frontiers in Forensic Entomology. Boca Raton: CRC Press, pp. 283-296.

Harrington, Katherine I. and Daniel J. Wescott. 2015. Size and shape differences in the distal femur and proximal tibia between normal and obese American whites. Journal of Forensic Sciences 60(S1):S32-S38.

Wescott, Daniel J. 2015. Sexual dimorphism in auricular surface medial projection and postauricular sulcus morphology. Journal of Forensic Sciences 60:679-685.

Wescott, Daniel J. 2014. The relationship between long bone shape and terrestrial mobility patterns. In Kristian Carlson and Damiano Marchi (eds.). Mobility: Interpreting Behavior from Skeletal Adaptations and Environmental Interactions. New York: Springer, pp 111-132.

Wescott, Daniel J. 2014. Reconstructing habitual activities by biomechanical analysis of long bones. In Douglas Owsley and Richard L. Jantz (eds.). Kennewick Man: Scientific Interpretation of an Ancient American Skeleton. College Station: Texas A&M Press, pp 232-248.

Anderson, Derek, Timothy Havens, Christian Wagner, James Keller, Melissa Anderson, and Daniel Wescott. 2014. Extension of the fuzzy integral for general fuzzy set-valued information. Transactions on Fuzzy Systems 22(6):1625-1639

Wescott, Daniel J., Deborah L. Cunningham and David R. Hunt. 2014. Temporal trends in femoral diaphyseal torsional asymmetry among the Arikara associated with postural behavior. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 154(4):512-524.


Current Research Projects

Development of best practices and protocols for detecting and documenting clandestine graves and surface human remains with unmanned aerial systems and multispectral remote sensing.  

An actualistic study of the sequence of joint disarticulation and necrodynamics for purposes of reconstructing clandestine graves.

Novel method approximating body mass index category using skeletal remains.

Effects of obesity on trabecular bone structure