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Human Identification via Lateral Patella Radiographs: A Validation Study,

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This research examines the utility of patella outline shape for matching 3D scans of patellae to knee radiographs using elliptical Fourier analysis and subjective methods of human visual comparison of patellae across radiographs for identification purposes. Repeat radiographs were captured of cadaver's knees for visual comparison before patellae were extracted and skeletonized for quantitative comparisons. Quantitative methods provided significant narrowing down of the candidate pool to just a few potential matches (<5% of original sample), while the human analysts showed high capacity for correctly matching radiographs, irrespective of educational level (positive predictive value = 99.8%). The successful computerized matching based on a single quantified patella trait (outline shape) helps explain the potency achieved by subjective visual examination. This work adds to a growing body of studies demonstrating the value of single isolated infracranial bones for human identification via radiographic comparison.
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Keywords: Daubert; comparative radiology; elliptical Fourier analysis; forensic anthropology; forensic science; geometric morphometrics; human remains; validation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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