Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Establishing identity

Here's another shot from our Resolved exhibit. It shows the lines of evidence that must be explored in order to establish identity.
Forensic identification is the application of science to establish personal identity.
Postmortem data are an individual's physical characteristics recorded by scientists from a person's remains after death.
Antemortem data are the physical characteristics that a person is born with and acquires throughout life.
Identification results when a person's postmortem data matches an individual's antemortem data to the exclusion of everyone else.
Lines of evidence are those scientific disciplines that contribute to an identification, such as material evidence, fingerprinting, dentistry, anthropology, DNA, and pathology.
A case is resolved when an American returns alive, the remains are recovered, repatriated, and certified, or there is convincing evidence that neither of the two options is possible.

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