‘Virtual Anthropology’ And Radiographic Imaging In The Forensic Medical Sciences

Authors: Daniel Franklin, Lauren Swift, Ambika Flavel


Technological advancements in forensic imaging have had tremendous flow-on benefits to the professional practice of forensic anthropology, not only in respect of case-work analyses, but in facilitating empirical research that has validated and/or improved existing, and introduced novel, methods into the discipline. Some of the pioneering practical examples of radiographic imaging being applied in the forensic analysis of human skeletal remains date to the initial introduction of radiography in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Subsequent modern applications have developed concurrent to the use of computed tomography in the forensic morgue for autopsy procedures by pathologists; virtopsy (as it is now termed) represents a powerful non-invasive supplement/alternative to traditional autopsy practices where dissection may not be allowable due to religious objection (amongst other reasons). The present review considers a brief history of skeletal radiographic imaging and the specific modalities typically employed. Forensic applications of ‘virtual anthropology’ are then discussed, as are applications of the latter in DVI and other case-work scenarios. Throughout the review we emphasise the research importance of virtual modelling and conclude with some thoughts for future directions.


Virtual anthropology; Radiography; Population specificity; Identification; Age estimation

Citation: Daniel Franklin, Lauren Swift, Ambika Flavel ‘Virtual Anthropology’ And Radiographic Imaging In The Forensic Medical Sciences doi:10.1016/j.ejfs.2016.05.011

Received: 21 April 2016, Revised: 18 May 2016, Accepted: 19 May 2016, Available online: 8 June 2016

Copyright: © 2016 The International Association of Law and Forensic Sciences (IALFS). Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V.This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).



Conflict of interest

None declared.

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