Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2005, $199,635)
The proposed project will develop population-specific classification criteria and associated software to assist forensic scientists in the characterization of human skulls. Such tools would be an important component both in criminal investigations and in general preparedness for mass fatality incidents. These tools will incorporate the new and powerful methods of geometric morphometrics that address significant shortcomings in traditional approaches to biological shape analysis, which are not yet widely used in forensic identification. The project objectives are three-fold: 1. To compile an extensible population database derived from three-dimensional landmark coordinate data of human cranial material that will aid in future victim identifications; 2. Develop and validate population-specific procedures for the classification of unknown individuals; 3. Develop cross-platform software for the use in forensic applications of human identification.