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Many museums house significant numbers of human remains, many of which were acquired without the consent of the individual in question. So, our good friend Caitlin from Ask a Mortician stopped by the Field Museum to talk with us about it.

This is a humongous and complicated topic - we'd love to know what you think!

Caitlin's channel:
Read her books they're AWESOME:

Info on NAGPRA:

Here's the paper from Science about the person from Spirit Cave and the genetic testing of that individual:

Mummy unwrapping parties:

Origins of Exhibited Cadavers Questioned:

More on Grover Krantz, Sasquatch scientist and expert on human evolution:

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Executive Producer, Creator, Host:
Emily Graslie

Producer, Director, Editor:
Sheheryar Ahsan

Production Assistant, Content Developer:
Raven Forrest

Interview with:
Caitlin Doughty

Production Support/Stuntman:
Vinícius Penteado
This episode is filmed on location at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois.

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Emily:  We have a super special guest on our program today, it's Caitlin Doughty! From Ask A Mortician.

Caitlin: I'm so glad to finally be here at the Field Museum with the world famous Emily Graslie.

E: I'm famous in some weird circles.

C; You're famous in my circle.

E: I- oh gosh same.  I think we-

C: We're just a concentric circle that's us in the middle of it.

E: It's Caitlin and Emily and there's a lot of overlap there.  We've been talking about doing a video together for like years.

C: Years.  And we're friends off hte video, we've just never shown our friendship on the videos.

E: Yeah I mean we went to VidCon together.

C: Wild.

E: That was one of my most favorite VidCon experiences.  But I'm excited, and we're gonna have a conversation.

C: We're gonna have a sort of difficult conversation today.

E: Yes, what is really interesting about this is we put the call out to our respective audiences on the Twitterverse asking them, you know, what do they want us to talk about?   Here we are, we have the  oppurtunity to have a productive conversation; what was interesting was the topic that resonated the most, or seemed to resonate the most, that people were most interested in, was the conversation about human remians in museum collections.  Which is not an easy conversation to have.

C: No.  Not at all.  And historically it's been a really hard conversation to have.  And why do you think people ask you about that so much?  I mean obviously you work at a museum, I think it's more obvious for you, right?

E: In addition to, you know, being a Youtuber who makes science videos, I am also and hae been a full time museum employee for six years at this point, so I'm privvy to a lot of nuances in the conversation about things like human remains.  Not to say that I'm at the table cuz I'm not, but sort of on the periphery and probably have a better understanding of some of the complications and just, current consideratoins that are happening behind the scenes.

C: But you are also, I think, well know in your videos for openly discussing the machinations behind a museum.  Even beauracracy and how you work with curators and how you work with administration, so when you have that sort of open dialogue with the public, they're gonna immediately go to like, "Hey here's the most difficult, transgressive issue, we need you to be open about that too."

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