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Forensic anthropologist helps put names to remains

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ALBANY, N.Y. — Forensic anthropologist Thomas Holland helps attach names to unidentified remains, interpreting old bones that tell him their age when alive. He can tell height, gender, race and whether they were buried respectfully.

Even the long dead tell tales, and Holland advised investigators from the New York State Police and around the world last week how to listen more closely to what they say.

Still, it's not like television's popular forensic police procedurals, where cases are all solved in an hour. Holland said asking him about the shows is like asking astronauts what they think of "Star Trek."

State police investigators say New York has more than 700 unidentified dead out of about 40,000 nationally. They identify four or five every year.