Volume 50, Issue 1 (January 2005)
Testing the Reliability of Frontal Sinuses in Positive Identification
The use of frontal sinus radiographs in positive identification has become an increasingly applied and accepted technique among forensic anthropologists, radiologists, and pathologists. From an evidentiary standpoint, however, it is important to know whether frontal sinus radiographs are a reliable method for confirming or rejecting an identification, and standardized methods should be applied when making comparisons. The purpose of the following study is to develop an objective, standardized comparison method, and investigate the reliability of that method. Elliptic Fourier analysis (EFA) was used to assess the variation in 808 outlines of frontal sinuses by calculating likelihood ratios and posterior probabilities from EFA coefficients. Results show that using EFA coefficient comparison to estimate the probability of a correct identification is a reliable technique, and EFA comparison of frontal sinus outlines is recommended when it may be necessary to provide quantitative substantiation for a forensic identification based on these structures.