Physical Geography and Sciences



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Eric Frauenhofer, Forensic Chemistry
Faculty Mentor: Professor Douglas Ridolfi, Chemistry

A goal of forensic anthropology is determining the identity of human remains, which can be achieved by establishing a biological profile (that is, determining the sex, ancestry, stature, and age-at-death) of the remains. This can sometimes be a straightforward process by assessing non-metric traits of the skull and pelvis. More often than not, however, that is not the case as remains are often incomplete and poorly preserved. Under these circumstances, a profile can be estimated using measurements from a single bone or even bone fragments. However, these methods often rely on mathematical formulas that can be difficult to utilize and interpret. For this reason, forensic anthropologists have developed software for practitioners to enter raw measurements and estimate a profile. One commonly used program, however, is expensive (~$395 per copy) and is limited to Windows computers. Therefore, my research project focused on developing a free app for iPhone and iPad devices that can be used in the field to estimate a biological profile (not including age-at-death) using accepted metric methods and user-supplied measurements. The app can be used by selecting an aspect of the biological profile, selecting a method, and entering measurements directly into the app, which will then perform the calculation and interpret the result (e.g., male versus female) in accordance with the selected methodology. The app also reports the standard error for the applied method. This app may supplement current software used in forensic anthropology.

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Forensic Anthropology and Your Smartphone: Establishing a Biological Profile
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