Dr Devin Finaughty

Lecturer in Forensic Science
Dr Devin Finaughty


Dr Devin Finaughty is a forensic anthropologist/taphonomist/entomologist by trade with a particular interest in the decomposition ecosystem and carrion ecology. His research seeks to decode the complexities of this ecosystem to help construct comprehensive predictive models of decay to inform more accurate estimates of time-since-death for the medicolegal industry – an oft-sought outcome in forensic death investigations.

Originally from South Africa, Dr Finaughty is broadly-trained, with three degrees covering human physiology & anatomy, zoology, entomology, and biological anthropology – all from the University of Cape Town. For his PhD he set up the first taphonomic research programme in the Western Cape province of South Africa and established baseline data on soft-tissue decomposition in this globally-unique biogeographic region.

Prior to his current appointment, Dr Finaughty was a lecturer in Biological Anthropology in the School of Anthropology and Conservation, also at the University of Kent. In addition to academics, he undertook forensic casework for the South African Forensic Pathology Service and South Africa Police Service through his roles as Senior Member of the Forensic Anthropology Cape Town (FACT) Laboratory and co-founder of the Cape Forensic Taphonomy and Entomology (CapeFORTE) Laboratory. He is an advocate of transdisciplinary research that includes all stakeholders and end-users to facilitate the development of meaningful solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

Research interests

Dr Finaughty is broadly interested in the decomposition ecosystem and carrion ecology. His PhD research included studies on the decay process and its interaction with the physical and biotic components of the surrounding environment – a theme that has extended into his professional research career. His current work – undertaken in collaboration with local and international collaborators – seeks to characterise the roles of vertebrate scavengers in carrion ecosystems in the UK and South Africa, as well as develop means to automate and quantify data collection in decomposition research.


FSCI5020: Forensic Archaeology;

PSCI6020: Forensic Expert Witness Skills;

PSCI6200: Forensic Science Project;

SACO8150: Forensic Taphonomy (Convenor);

PSCI7020: Contemporary Issues in Forensic Science (Convenor)


Dr Finaughty is not currently accepting any new applications for PhD students.


Dr Finaughty can provide commentary and discussion on topics relating to forensic taphonomy, translating research into practice for forensic casework, and the study of the decomposition ecosystem inclusive of experimental, field-based research at taphonomy research facilities (‘body farms’).

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