Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science

Key parameters of face shape variation in 3D in a large sample

M.P. Evison, I.L. Dryden, N.R.J. Fieller, X.G.D. Mallett, L. Morecroft, D. Schofield & R.W. Vorder Bruegge. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 55(1), pp. 159-162. (2010).


Improvement of methods for evidential facial comparison for the Courts relies on the collection of large databases of facial images that permit the analysis of face shape variation and the development of statistical tools. In this paper, we present a short description and key findings of an anthropometric study of face shape variation in three-dimensions. We used Statistical Shape Analysis to investigate a large database sample (n = 1968), classified by age and gender. We found that size, shape of the bilateral features and midline contributed successively to overall variation. Face size is associated with age. Sexual dimorphism is evident in size and shape, and shows patterns that affect male and female subjects differently. We anticipate this approach will lend itself to the development of methods for analysis of variation within subject groups and the establishment of the relative uniqueness or abundance of facial measurements within them.

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