- The scope of Forensic Anthropology is immense and is increasing everyday. The preference of many killers to dump the bodies of their victims in remote sites means that most often the police have nothing but skeletal remains to aid in their investigation. It is then left to the forensic Anthropologist to use this flimsy evidence to shed some light on the case with his expertise.
FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY: FACIAL RECONSTRUCTION
FORENSIC FACIAL RECONSTRUCTION is the process of recreating the face of an individual from their skeletal remains through an amalgamation of of artistry , forensic science, osteology , anthropology and anatomy.
The identification could be :
- POSITIVE : is established when a unique set of biological characters of a person are matched with a set of skeletal remains .
- CIRCUMSTANTIAL : is established when an individual fits the biological profile of a set of skeletal remains . It does not prove identity because any number of individuals may fit the same biological description.
It is a method used to scientifically depict how a person will look like in the future. This method can be used to establish identity of children or adults who have been missing for a number of years.
- 2-D RECONSTRUCTION
These are hand drawn portraits based on radio graphs , ante mortem photographs and the skull. Usually requires collaboration of an artist and a forensic anthropologist.
Recently, computer software's have been developed for this purpose they allow high speed reconstruction and subtle variations to be applied to the drawings.
- 3-D RECONSTRUCTION
They are either SCULPTURES made from casts of cranial remains ,created with modelling clay and other materials or HIGH RESOLUTION ,3-D computer images.
Computer programmes create reconstructions by manipulating scanned photographs of the unidentified cranial remains, stock photographs of the facial features and other available reconstructions.
Skull is the basis of facial reconstruction. It is examined thoroughly, focusing on the identification of any bony pathologies or unusual landmarks , ruggedness of muscle attachment . profile of the mandible .symmetry of the nasal bone , dentition, etc.
Then a plaster cast of the skull is prepared .once it is set, colored plastics are attached at 21 landmarks that correspond to the data. These sites represent the average facial thickness of tissue for the persons of same race, sex, age as that of the remains.
Forensic superimpositions are created by superimposing a photograph of an individual suspected of belonging to the unidentified skeletal remains over an x-ray of the unidentified skull. If the skull and the photograph are of the same person, then the anatomical features should align accurately.
It is not always included as a technique as investigators must already have some kind of previous knowledge about the identity of the skeletal remains with which they are dealing.