Volume 39, Issue 2 (March 1994)
The Reliability of Skull/Photograph Superimposition in Individual Identification
The accuracy of video superimposition methods for identifying unknown human skulls was examined. Three identified human skulls were each compared to 97 lateral view and 98 frontal view “mug shot” photographs using two television cameras, an electronic signal mixer, and a video monitor. The skulls were not from individuals represented by the photographs. All comparisons were done without using anterior dentition.
The results found that 9.6% of the lateral view and 8.5% of the frontal view superimpositions were classified as a consistent fit based on the criteria that were identified. The incidence of false matches was reduced to 0.6% of the sample when a frontal view and lateral view photograph of the same individual were both compared to one skull. It was concluded that without anterior dentition, skull/photograph superimposition is reliable when two or more photographs, clearly depicting the facial features from different angles, are used in the comparison.