Volume 23, Issue 2 (April 1978)
Personal Identification of Human Remains: An Overview
Personal identification of human remains, as a science and as an art, occurs in a variety of sociocultural contexts. Unknown remains resulting from accidents and homicides occupy the attention of identification specialists in criminalistics, and unknowns resulting from military engagements and mass disasters are the focus of identification specialists in both military and civilian agencies. Each group of specialists has, within its respective identification agency, its own techniques and methods for establishing identity, and each group has its own criteria with which to verify identification. The purpose and functions of personal identification also vary within the context of the investigative agencies, but all identification specialists, regardless of their agency affiliation, are oriented toward establishing an individuality that can be validated by comparison with supporting social data.