|Position:||Professor of Craniofacial Identification|
|Address:||College of Life Sciences
University of Dundee
|Telephone:||+44 (0)1382 386324, internal ext. 86324|
|Fax:||+44 (0)1382 345893|
Facial Anthropology is the science of human faces. This deals with evolutionary biology, physical variation, and classification of faces and skulls.
One of the areas of research within facial anthropology is facial reconstruction (otherwise known as facial approximation), and this is the process utilised to attempt to reproduce the facial appearance of an individual. Traditionally facial reconstruction has involved the analysis of skeletal and/or soft tissue detail to determine facial morphology.
In some forensic investigations the usual methods utilised for human identification can be unsuccessful and there may be few clues as to the identity of an individual. The majority of identification techniques require a known individual with which to compare data, such as DNA, fingerprints or dental records, and where there are no suspects for identification it is practically impossible to compare data with records from an entire population. In these circumstances less definitive methods may be considered in an attempt to focus on a population from which the individual may be identified. Facial reconstruction is one of the methods that may be employed in such investigations.
It must be noted that facial reconstruction is not a method of identification, rather a tool for recognition; to produce a list of names from which the individual may then be identified by other legally accepted methods of identification.
My focus, for the last 10 years, has been to attempt to increase the accuracy of facial reconstruction methods by analysing the relationships between the soft and hard tissues of the face, in order to assess old and create new standards for practical use. This research has employed anthropometry, photogrammetry, clinical imaging, human dissection, surface scanning, face pool identification, volunteer resemblance assessments, skeletal assessment and automated statistical models.
Under a research fellowship funded by NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts) I developed and assessed a computerized facial reconstruction system employing “virtual” sculpture, which has been used within the UK for forensic identification and internationally for archaeological investigation.
My previous research has also included the analysis of juvenile facial tissues using ultrasound measurements, cranial growth in adults, skull reassembly, the use of facial reconstruction in Egyptology and archaeology and juvenile facial reconstruction.
I have been involved in human identification research from CCTV images and have acted as an expert witness in facial image analysis for Criminal Court. These human identification procedures are continually researched and audited to allow the constant review and scrutiny of standards.
To evaluate facial image analysis procedures, I therefore undertake research into the assessment of facial morphology population statistics, reliability and accuracy studies of facial image analysis techniques and facial recognition. These studies employ surface scanning, photogrammetry, anthropometry and clinical imaging.
1. Wilkinson, CM (2004) Forensic Facial Reconstruction. Cambridge University Press
2. Wilkinson, CM and Mautner, SA. (2003) Measurement of eyeball protrusion and its application in facial reconstruction.J For Sci 48 (1) 12-16
3. Wilkinson, CM and Neave, RAH. (2003) The reconstruction of faces showing healed wounds. J Archaeological Science 30; 1343-1348
4. Wilkinson, CM, Motwani, M and Chiang, E. (2003) The relationship between the soft tissues and the skeletal detail of the mouth. J For Sci. 48 (4) 1-5
5. Wilkinson CM. (2002) In vivo facial tissue depth measurements for White British children. J. Forensic Sci 47 (3): 459-465
6. Wilkinson, CM and Whittaker, DK (2002) Juvenile forensic facial reconstruction – a detailed accuracy study.Proceedings of the 10th Meeting of the International Association of Craniofacial Identification, Bari, Italy; 98-110