Success Story: Creating an International Databank of Skeletal Biomarkers for Human Identification

Success Story: Creating an International Databank of Skeletal Biomarkers for Human Identification

National Institute of Justice and University of South Florida


September 2016


According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Missing Person and Unidentified Person Files, there are approximately 13,500 unidentified individual cases in the United States, and about 1,000 new unidentified individual cases remain open annually. A clear framework for the varied contexts, clarification on the degree to which populations vary, and the potential causes for observed variation are needed to improve human identification. With the support of National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funding, Erin Kimmerle, PhD, and her team at the University of South Florida developed a large dataset—the International Databank of Skeletal Biomarkers for Human Identification (DHI)—to help answer questions about skeletal variation in human identification.

“Forensic anthropology today is largely about applying methods and theory from studies in human variation to aid in the identification of human remains. The key is to find an approach which takes into account biological, cultural, and legal diversity so that families of the missing and the broader community find resolution and peace.”

- Erin Kimmerle, Ph.D. | Director, Florida Institute of Forensic Anthropology
and Applied Sciences, University of South Florida

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence success story was provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this success story are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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