Why you should listen
Every animal has its enthusiast. For the turkey vulture, it's Dr. Lauren Pharr. Originally from Tennessee, Pharr uses her PhD from LSU's Department of Geography and Anthropology to research and promote the role of vultures in forensic science.
Through cross-disciplinary research in forensic anthropology and geographic information systems, Pharr has shown that deeper study of vulture scavenging can lead to faster and more accurate work in identifying human remains. Pharr's work has led her across the country to help law enforcement professionals and researchers at the Texas State Forensic Anthropology Research Facility, the Smithsonian Ornithology Laboratory and the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Whether it's helping local law enforcement solve missing-person cases or assisting in data collection and research at national labs, Pharr proves that this often misunderstood species offers more than a cliché about vultures circling.