Failure of anthropometry as a facial identification technique using high-quality photographs

Krista F. Kleinberg, Peter Vanezis*, A. Mike Burton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Anthropometry can be used in certain circumstances to facilitate comparison of a photograph of a suspect with that of the potential offender from surveillance footage. Experimental research was conducted to determine whether anthropometry has a place in forensic practice in confirming the identity of a suspect from a surveillance video. We examined an existing database of photographic lineups, where one video image was compared against 10 photographs, which has previously been used in psychological research. Target (1) and test (10) photos were of high quality, although taken with a different camera. The anthropometric landmarks of right and left ectocanthions, nasion, and stomion were chosen, and proportions and angle values between these landmarks were measured to compare target with test photos. Results indicate that these measurements failed to accurately identify targets. There was also no indication that any of the landmarks made a better comparison than another. It was concluded that, for these landmarks, this method does not generate the consistent results necessary for use as evidence in a court of law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-783
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


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