Estimating Biological Characteristics With Virtual Laser Data
Laser scanning technology is increasingly being used in forensic anthropological research to obtain virtual data for archival purposes and post hoc measurement collection. This research compared the measurement accuracy of two laser scanners—the FARO Focus3D 330X and the FARO Freestyle3D—against traditionally obtained (i.e., by hand) control data (N = 454). Skeletal data were collected to address a novel question: the ability of laser scanning technology to produce measurements useful for biological characteristic estimation, such as sex and stature. Results indicate that both devices produced measurements very similar to control (c. 3‐mm average absolute error), but also illuminate a tendency to under‐measure. Despite these findings, the virtual data produced sex and stature estimates that varied little from control‐produced estimates, signifying the usefulness of virtual data for preliminary biological identification when the skeletal elements are no longer available for physical analysis.
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