Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

The Use of X-ray Computed Tomography Technologies in Forensic Anthropology

Angi M. Christensen, Michael A. Smith, Devora S. Gleiber, Deborah L. Cunningham, Daniel J. Wescott


The use of radiology, including X-ray computed tomography (CT), to examine skeletal remains is not new, but the use of postmortem CT (PMCT) in medicolegal investigations by forensic anthropologists is relatively rare, at least in the United States. The use of medical or industrial CT technology may be a viable option available to forensic anthropologists for digital preservation and to conduct nondestructive analyses of the internal and external structures of bone. The 3D reconstruction can be used for biological profile development, trauma analysis, taphonomic evaluation, identification, 3D digitization, and measurement. Here we review some of the differences between industrial and medical CT systems and discuss some of the advantages and limitations of exploiting industrial CT technology in the postmortem examination of skeletal remains. Finally, we provide two examples of forensic anthropology laboratories utilizing industrial CT systems and discuss some of the applications that can be used by forensic anthropologists in PMCT.

KEYWORDS: forensic anthropology, computed tomography, CT, industrial CT

Full Text: