Alison Galloway to discuss "Life of the Dead" at the Rio Theatre on June 6

Photo of Alison Galloway
Alison Galloway will discuss her work analyzing human remains during a public talk on June 6 at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz.
Forensic anthropologist Alison Galloway will give a public lecture on her work analyzing human remains on Tuesday, June 6, at 7 p.m., at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz.

Presented by the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, Galloway's talk is entitled "Life of the Dead: The Natural History of Human Decomposition." Admission is $10 for museum members, $15 for general admission, and $30 for "gold circle" seating.

Galloway, a professor of anthropology, recently returned to research after serving six years as campus provost/executive vice chancellor. She is a board-certified forensic anthropologist who specializes in the human skeleton; she is in high demand among law enforcement agencies, coroners, and medical examiners for her expertise in analyzing human remains.

Her talk will explore the natural processes that take place after death and the range of organisms that utilize dead bodies, as well as the techniques experts use to estimate circumstances surrounding a death.

"If we die in a place where the body is allowed to undergo normal decomposition, then the remains play host to a suite of insects, animals and fungi, as well as the bacterial interactions from within and external to the body," Galloway said. "In other words, we may die but life continues and transitions."

Galloway was born in the United Kingdom but grew up in the San Francisco Bay area after coming to California in 1960. She attended UC Berkeley and the University of Arizona, Tucson, where she completed her doctorate. After teaching for two years at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Galloway joined the faculty at UC Santa Cruz in 1990. She has served as chair of the Anthropology Department and of the UC Santa Cruz Academic Senate. She has authored numerous publications and taught several courses, including an introductory course in physical anthropology and human skeletal biology.

"As a science education organization, we are proud to have someone of Dr. Galloway's caliber presenting about the scientific knowledge and tools she employs in her painstaking and important work," said Heather Moffat McCoy, executive director of the museum. "She provides a unique perspective on an aspect of the natural world folks rarely consider."

Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are available online or at the door.