Daniel J. Wescott

Daniel WescottDirector of the Forensic Anthropology Center
Professor of Anthropology

Office: Grady Early Building 111, 1921 Old RR 12
Phone: (512) 245-1945
Email: dwescott@txstate.edu
Website - FACTS
Website - Academia

Curriculum Vitae

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.

Recent Publications

Mickleburgh, Hayley L., Daniel J. Wescott, Sarah Gluschitz, M. Victor Klinkenburg. 2021 Exploring the use of actualistic forensic taphonomy in the study of (forensic) archaeological human burials: an actualistic experiment research programme at the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University (FACTS). In: C.J. Knüsel, E.M.J.  Schotsmans (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Archaeothanatology, Routledge [November 2021 release].

Mickleburgh, Hayley L., Ed Schwalbe, Maruka Mizukami, Federica Sellitto, Sefora Starace, Daniel J. Wescott, David O. Carter, Noemi Procopio. 2021. The human bone proteome before and after decomposition: implications for forensic research.  Journal of Proteome Research 20(5):2533-2546.

Aitkenhead-Peterson, Jacqueline A., James P. Fancher, Michael B. Alexander, Michelle D. Hamilton, Joan A. Bytheway, Daniel J. Wescott. 2021. Predicting postmortem interval for human cadavers in a sub-tropical climate using UV-Vis-near infrared spectroscopy. Journal of Forensic Sciences 66(1):190-201.

Pesko, Bogumila K., Stefan Weidt, Mark McLaughlin, Daniel J. Wescott, Hazel Torrance, Karl Burgess, Richard Burchmore. 2020. Post-mortomics: the potential of untargeted metabolomics to highlight markers for time since death. OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology 24(11),10.1089/omi.2020.0084.

Baide, Alexis, Charlie Farber, Mark Krimmer, Daniel Wescott, and Dmitry Kurouski. 2020. Non-invasive post-mortem interval diagnostics using a hand-held Raman spectrometer. Forensic Chemistry 20, 100270.

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 [invited]. Special Issue: Perimortem Trauma, edited by Douglas H. Ubelaker.

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.

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.

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

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):45-61 [invited]. Special Issue: Thinking Computationally about Forensics: Anthropological Perspectives on Advancements in Technologies, Data, and Algorithms, edited by Bridget F.B. Algee-Hewitt and Jieun Kim.

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.

Mickleburgh, Hayley L. and Daniel J. Wescott. 2018. Controlled case study on joint disarticulation and bone displacement during the decomposition process: Implications for funerary taphonomy. Journal of Archaeological Science- Reports 20:158-167.

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. Gleiber, Chloe P. McDaneld, Laruen A. Meckel, Joan A. Bytheway. 2018. Validation of total body score/accumulated degree day model at three human decomposition facilities. Forensic Anthropology 1(3):143-149.

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-Peterson, T. Farris, K. Mix, A.P. Schwab, D.J. Wescott, and 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. Postmortem microbial communities in burial soil layers of skeletonized humans. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine 49:43-49.

Current Research Projects

Forensic investigation of mass graves: an actualistic study for advancing methods of detection, excavation, documentation, and interpretation of mass graves. Collaborators: Hayley Mickleburgh, Tim Gocha, Noemi Procopio, Kennedy Doro

Forensic Fire Death Investigation: Cross-Disciplinary Research and Performance Standards Development for Structural, Vehicle, and Open-Pit Fire Scenes. Collaborators: Steve Seddig, Tim Gocha, Sophia Mavroudas, Nick Herrmann

Body mass estimation using bone micro- and macro-structure: a practical approach using CT imaging and computer analysis [NIJ 2020-R2-CX-0048]. Collaborators: Deborah Cunningham, Adam Sylvester, Wojciech Zbijewski, Lauren Meckel

Detection of clandestine surface and buried remains in central Texas using unmanned aerial systems equipped with infrared and near-infrared sensors: relationship between ground truth and sensor data (FSF grant 2020). Collaborators: Thomas Chappell and Gene Robinson.

Development of best practices and protocols for detecting and documenting clandestine graves and surface human remains with unmanned aerial systems and multispectral remote sensing [NIJ 2019-DU-BX-0027]. Collaborators: Derek Anderson, Gene Robinson.

Detection and diagnosis of mobility impairment via cortical and trabecular bone properties to aid in the identification of individuals in a medicolegal context [NIJ 2019-R2-CX-0052]. Devora Gleiber’s dissertation research
Obesity as a natural experiment to investigate bone functional adaptation [NSF 1922890]. Collaborators: Deborah L. Cunningham, Adam Sylvester, Devora Gleiber.