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Three-Dimensional Craniofacial Variation of Modern Americans: A Visual Reference to Supplement Facial Approximation Methods

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2017
11 pages
This study used computed tomography (CT) data to collect detailed measurements of the relationships between the craniofacial skeleton and soft tissues of the face, so as to improve craniofacial identification methods in the United States.

The study involved a collaboration between forensic science researchers and a facial- approximation practitioner. The study's results - including the quantitative data, qualitative analyses relative to traditional facial approximation guidelines, and the 3 D models - constitute the first comprehensive craniofacial reference data sets for practitioners in the United States. The findings show the possibility of developing more objective estimations of dimensions for facial features. In addition, indicators that were more defined by anatomical indicators were identified, which will result in improved estimations of individualized facial feature dimensions and positions. Positional data between bone and skin landmarks provide predictors when measurements cannot be collected. Such data can also provide checks on predicted facial feature position and contribute to guidelines for craniofacial superimposition. The resources produced include 3D skull and face models in standard, widely viewable file formats, dense facial tissue depth mappings (FTDMs), and the open-source method for generating them and interacting with them. Other project products are positions of skin landmarks relative to bone landmarks, tools for standardizing 3D head orientation, numerous presentations, and guides for viewing and interacting with the project's data set. Information is provided on project subjects and project design and methods. 5 figures, 3 tables, and 16 references

Date Published: November 1, 2017