Journal Published Online: 01 November 1998
Volume 43, Issue 6

Quantitative Assessment of Trabecular Bone Pattern Identification



The results of the research described in this paper demonstrate that the trabecular architecture is unique to each individual and stable enough to be used as a forensic marker for positive identification of human remains.

The trabecular bone architecture depicted on radiographs is often used as an individualizing forensic marker for positive identification of human remains.

The aim of the present study was to ascertain the reliability of the trabecular pattern in forensic identification. The trabecular pattern is potentially the best radiographic forensic marker since its presence on a radiograph doesn't depend on a previous pathology or traumatic event.

A sample of 305 radiographs of the left wrist of 103 postmenopausal women was studied using an image analyzer. The uniqueness and stability over time of the trabecular architecture was examined by creating line maps or “densitographs” of the ultra-distal point of the radius of each roentgenogram.

Pearson's correlation coefficients were calculated for all possible combinations of pairs of radiographs. The correlation coefficient of pairs of radiographs of the same individual, taken at different times (2 to 6 years apart), was always higher than 0.72, while the correlation coefficients of radiographs of different individuals was always below 0.62.

Author Information

Kahana, T
Division of Identification and Forensic Sciences, Israel Police Headquarters, Jerusalem, Israel
Hiss, J
The L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel
Smith, P
Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, Hadasah School of Dental Medicine, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
Pages: 4
Price: $25.00
Reprints and Permissions
Reprints and copyright permissions can be requested through the
Copyright Clearance Center
Stock #: JFS14377J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS14377J