An exploration of sample representativeness in anthropometric facial comparison

Xanth D.G. Mallett, Ian Dryden, Richard Vorder Bruegge, Martin Evison

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Faces are assumed to be unique, but their use in court has remained problematic as no method of comparison with known error rates has been accepted by the scientific community. Rather than relying on the assumed uniqueness of facial features, previous research has been directed at estimations of face shape frequency. Here, the influence of age, sex, and ancestry on variation was investigated. Statistical shape analysis was used to examine the necessity for sub-divisions in forensic comparisons, using a large sample of facial images on which 30 anthropometric landmark points had been placed in 3D. Results showed a clear pattern of separation of the sexes in all age groups, and in different age groups in men. It was concluded that sub-division of databases by sex will be necessary in forensic comparisons. Sub-division by age may be necessary in men (although not necessarily in women), and may be necessary by ancestry.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1025-1031
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


    • Forensic science
    • Facial identification
    • Biometrics
    • Anthropometry
    • Principal components analysis
    • shape analysis


    Dive into the research topics of 'An exploration of sample representativeness in anthropometric facial comparison'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this