Dennis C. Dirkmaat, PhD, D-ABFA A Brief Visit with an Influential Forensic Anthropologist

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Rhian R. Dunn
Andrea Zurek-Ost
Paige Lynch
Carrie Bohne Warren


Dennis C. Dirkmaat, PhD, D-ABFA, is an essential figure in the discipline of forensic anthropology. He has been committed to research, as evidenced by the grants he has been awarded regarding victim recovery and outdoor crime scene interpretation. He has mentored not only hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students in his role as chair of the Applied Forensic Sciences Department at Mercyhurst University, but also countless individuals in the medicolegal system who have attended his annual forensic anthropology short courses over the past 30 years. Furthermore, he has conducted nearly 1,000 forensic cases to date and has consistently maintained his stance on the importance of the role forensic anthropologists play in outdoor crime scene recovery. His work and motto of “question everything” has surely influenced advances within the discipline of forensic anthropology, as well as encouraged his students to follow in his footsteps. Therefore, this article aims to provide insight into Dr. Dirkmaat’s life story and to present his achievements and convictions across his career.

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