Personal Identification Using the Frontal Sinus

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The frontal sinuses are known to be unique to each individual; however, no one has tested the independence of the frontal sinus traits to see if probability analysis through trait combination is a viable method of identifying an individual using the frontal sinuses. This research examines the feasibility of probability trait combination, based on criteria recommended in the literature, and examines two other methods of identification using the frontal sinuses: discrete trait combinations and superimposition pattern matching. This research finds that most sinus traits are dependent upon one another and thus cannot be used in probability combinations. When looking at traits that are independent, this research finds that metric methods are too fraught with potential errors to be useful. Discrete trait combinations do not have a high enough discriminating power to be useful. Only superimposition pattern matching is an effective method of identifying an individual using the frontal sinuses.

Keywords: forensic anthropology; forensic science; frontal sinus; identification; individualization; pattern matching; trait combinations

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto at Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Road, North Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6, Canada.

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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