Appendix D: Forensic Anthropology:
The Purpose and Value of Facial Restoration
in Human Skeletal Identification

 

 

Facial restoration is a last resort at identification when all other methods have failed. When successful, it is not in itself an identifying tool such as antemortem and postmortem radiographs of skull sinuses, dental restorations, and the like. It is merely a clue, but important in that it gives the working police officers a lead they did not have before.

The face in clay will be exhibited in all the media--newspapers, police stations, television, etc. What is hoped for is that someone will call in and positively identify the person. The investigator can now go to the home of the suspect and obtain a photograph, if indeed he/she is missing. A skull/photo superimposition can now be made for a positive identification or not.

Facial restoration is a clue at best, but a valuable clue when it leads to identification of the skeletal remains. The success rate warrants the continued use of this technique.

 

GENDER ESTIMATION

Careful examination of the skeletal remains is necessary to determine the sex of the individual. The estimation of gender can be determined through analysis of the skull (cranium and mandible) and postcranial skeleton. The pelvis is considered the best area to determine the sex of a skeleton and the skull is presumably the second best area. The skull and bone features vary from male to female and this is based on the generalization that male features are more pronounced and marked than the female (Table E-1).

 

TABLE E-1 GENDER ESTIMATION

SKULL FEATURE

MALE

FEMALE
Bony superciliary ridges prominent absent or slight
Frontal bone low, slanting globular, rounded
Mastoid process large small *
Supraorbital margin rounded sharp
External occipital protuberance generally present generally absent
Nuchal crest (occipital bone) rugose smoother
Zygomatic process extends past external does not *
Symphysis of mandible square rounded *
Ramus of mandible straight slanting
Mandible gonion (gonion angle) flaring less so
Total skull heavier, larger more rounded, smaller
 

*These may vary. Exceptions occur frequently.

 

BONE FEATURE

MALE

FEMALE
Pubic bone robust delicate
Pubic region shorter longer
Subpubic angle less angle (narrow) greater angle (wide)
Subpubic cavity no ventral arc ventral arc
Ischiopubic ramus broad on the medial aspect narrow on the medial aspect
Ilium flat sacroiliac articulation elevated sacroiliac articulation
Sciatic notch narrow wide
Preauricular sulcus uncommon depression between sciatic notch and sacroiliac articulation
Obturator foramen large, oval shaped small, triangular shaped
Pelvic basin funnel shaped, less space rounder shape, spacious
Acetabulum larger smaller
Femur
  • Vertical diameter
  • Bicondylar width
  • Popliteal length
  • Trochanteric oblique length
  • greater
  • greater
  • longer
  • longer
  • lesser
  • lesser
  • shorter
  • shorter
Pubic symphysis Young adult: rough Old adult: smooth

 

 

RACE DETERMINATION

The only part of the skeleton from which the origin of race can be accurately determined is the skull. Through evaluation and comparison of the anatomical and morphological skull feature variations, and anthropometric measurements racial origin Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid, can be determined. The skull features of Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid races are shown in Table E-2.

 

TABLE E-2 RACE DETERMINATION

SKULL FEATURE

CAUCASOID

MONGOLOID NEGROID
Nasal bones narrow, long, high-bridged narrow, low-bridged, short broad, flat, short
Nasal root narrow, high narrow, low broad, low
Nasal cavity narrow narrow wide
Anterior nasal spine long, straight short, straight short, slanted
Nasal sill sharp ridge sharp ridge guttered, rounded
Zygomatic bones curved squared curved
Profile straight variable prognathic
Maxillary Incisors smooth shoveled smooth
Bone feature * slight bowing bowed more straight*
Zygo-maxillary suture curved straight* curved
Transverse palatine suture straight straight curved, forward

 

* These and many others sited above will vary. The low, broad nasal bones of the relatively unmixed black will tend towards the narrower, high-bridged one of the caucasoid with race mixture.

 

AGE ESTIMATION

The biological age of a skeleton can be estimated by the following criteria: tooth eruption of the deciduous and secondary dentitions and epiphyseal growth and closure of the secondary ossification centers.

 

TISSUE DEPTH LANDMARKS

Tissue landmarks are rubber pegs cut to a specified length that represent the thickness of the soft tissue at different points on the skull (Table E-3). The tissue depth landmarks are glued to the skull and connected with modeling clay (Figure E-1 (A) and (B)).

 

TABLE E-3 TISSUE LANDMARK CHART

LANDMARKS

TISSUE DEPTH (mm)

CAUCASOID

NEGROID

MALE

FEMALE

MALE

FEMALE

1. Supraglabella

5.0

4.0

5.0

4.0

2. Glabella

6.0

5.0

6.0

5.0

3. Nasion

6.0

6.0

6.0

5.0

4. Sub-nasali

3.0

3.0

4.0

4.0

5. Philtrum

10.0

9.0

10.0

10.0

6. Alveolare

11.0

10.0

14.0

13.0

7. Infradentale

12.0

11.0

15.0

15.0

8. Mentolabial

11.0

10.0

12.0

12.0

9. Pogonion

12.0

11.0

12.0

12.0

10. Gnathion

7.0

6.0

8.0

7.0

11. Frontal bosses

8.0

7.0

9.0

8.0

12. Supra-orbital

5.0

6.0

5.0

5.0

13. Ectoconchion

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

14. Sub-orbital

6.0

7.0

8.0

9.0

15. Medial border

3.0

3.0

4.0

4.0

16. Sub-malar

9.0

11.0

13.0

14.0

17. Malar

8.0

7.0

9.0

9.0

18. Zygion

9.0

8.0

11.0

12.0

19. Arch-condyloid

10.0

8.0

11.0

12.0

20. Dental line

18.0

15.0

19.0

18.0

21. Gonion

12.0

10.0

15.0

14.0

22. Molar #18, #31

16.0

14.0

16.0

17.0

23. Inferior to 22

12.0

10.0

15.0

14.0

* For Native American skulls, use the same depths as for Caucasoids

grappappd1.gif (36730 bytes) grappappd2.gif (22674 bytes)
Figure D-1 (A)Tissue landmark points and initial modeling clay connections. (B) Completed clay connections.

Plastic eyes are placed into their respective positions, the remaining spaces are filled in with clay, and the facial features are sculpted using the tissue landmarks as a guide. A wig, hat, glasses, or scarf is placed on the model. A photograph is taken of the finished model and it is distributed to all media.