U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NMDID: A New Research Resource for Biological Anthropology

NCJ Number
American Journal of Physical Anthropology Volume: 168 Dated: 2019 Pages: 166-166
Date Published
1 page

This article describes the features of the New Mexico Decedent Image Database (NMDID), which is a free-access, searchable dataset of whole-body decedent CT scans and associated metadata.


The development of this database provides opportunities to address research challenges previously impossible. Applications include anatomy, pathology, growth and development, biomechanics, forensic anthropology and medicine, public health and other fields. The database is available at NMDID.UNM.EDU. The sample includes 15,249 individuals who died 2010-2017, approximately 11 percent of deaths in New Mexico. There is no decomposition detectable 77 percent of the scans. Two-thirds of the sample were male; one-third were Hispanic/Latino; 872 were aged 1-18; 299 were under 1-year old at death. Natural causes of death account for 5,506 individuals; the remainder include deaths due to accident, suicide, and homicide. Each individual is described by extensive associated descriptive data that derives from the death investigation and autopsy records as well as telephone interviews with next of kin. Information available varies greatly among individual, but can include education, occupations, habitual activities, number of children, country of origin for decedent, parents, and grandparents, health history, medications, socioeconomic status, and more. The metadata alone is an important new source for research. Each CT dataset consists of two sets of images, one optimized for displaying soft tissue and one optimized for displaying bone, totaling 7GB of information per individual. Each image set consists of approximately 12,000 image slices, each with high resolution and thickness of 1mm, with 0.5mm overlap. The resulting database provides just over 85TB of images and documentation for research and education. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019