Page 125 - UCT Research Report 2011

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allowing the group to convert an old physiology teaching
laboratory into an upgraded forensic anthropology
“As soon as you deal with forensics, you need to have
appropriate and adequate storage space as well as
proper systems,” he says.
As he explained in his 2011 book,
Missing and Murdered:
A Personal Adventure in Forensic Anthropology,
trained as a skeletal biologist, but has always
had a fascination for really cold ‘cold cases’ – he has
published on the origins of anatomically modern humans
and the Later Stone Age and Iron Age populations of
Southern Africa. The book allowed Professor Morris
to reach a wide audience with this recounting of his
work. He covered a series of modern cases in the title,
including muti murders and political killings.
The appeal of writing a book in popular science is that,
while still needing to be meticulous in the checking and
re-checking of facts, he does not have to get stuck on it.
“You can get on with the story,” he says.
In time, Professor Morris will probably have a few
more stories to recount. As will his colleagues in the
Department of Human Biology, as they press on in their
research of the human body and its shortcomings,
and explore new technologies and ways to identify
and circumvent those failings.
And as the head of the Department of Human Biology,
Professor Lauriston Kellaway, explains, the diversity
in disciplines brings with it new opportunities.
Already divisions, units, and centres are partnering
up, bringing their range of skills to one table.
“The drive is not so much to ‘weave’ the groups
together,” says Professor Kellaway, “but to recognise
and acknowledge the spread of expertise of the
various groups within the Department of Human
Biology and to encourage collaborations both
intra- and extra-departmentally, involving many
“Professor Morris is regularly called
upon by the Western Province’s
forensic pathology laboratories as
a ‘specialist’s specialist’ – dealing
specifically with the analysis of
bone remains.”
Associate Professor Ernesta Meintjes, who holds the DST/NRF SARChI Chair in Brain Imaging at UCT.