CT scans could support & strengthen forensic database to ID unidentified human remains
A study from North Carolina State University finds that data from CT scans can be incorporated into a growing forensic database to help determine the ancestry and sex of unidentified remains. The finding may also have clinical applications for craniofacial surgeons.
"As forensic anthropologists, we can map specific coordinates on a skull and use software that we developed -- called 3D-ID -- to compare those three-dimensional coordinates with a database of biological characteristics," says Dr. Ann Ross, a professor of anthropology at NC State and senior author of a paper describing the work. "That comparison can tell us the ancestry and sex of unidentified remains using only the skull -- which is particularly valuable when dealing with incomplete skeletal remains."
However, the size of the 3D-ID database has been limited by the researchers' access to contemporary skulls that have clearly recorded demographic histories.
To develop a more robust database, Ross and her team launched a study to determine whether it was possible to get good skull coordinate data from living people by examining CT scans.