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NIJ and University of South Florida: Creating an International Databank of Skeletal Biomarkers for Human Identification

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2016
2 pages

This is a summary report on a project conducted by a team at the University of South Florida that developed the International Databank of Skeletal Biomarkers for Human Identification (DHI), a large dataset intended to assist in researching issues regarding variation in human identification.


The research, which was led by Erin Kimmerle, was designed to be a multi-year study consisting of data collection from autopsies at the Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine of Lagos State University College of Medicine in Lagos, Nigeria, as well as numerous museum skeletal collections with African and Diaspora populations. The research team collected osteometric, morphological, and elemental and isotope data on skeletal and dental traits for contemporary African populations in Nigeria and other contemporary American populations and Diaspora. This research enabled the assessment of the degree of population variation among diverse populations and determination of the applicability of identification methods to be used across populations. The project developed internationally relevant data protocols and a framework for research in human identification. The resulting data are contained in an Excel file called DHI, which is open for use by the public. The protocol and estimation parameters can be found at http://www.forensics.usf.edu/.

Date Published: September 1, 2016