Geometric Morphometric Classification of Crania for Forensic Scientists

This website contains downloads for the software 3D-ID as well as a 3D coordinate database with modern cranial remains.


Geometric morphometrics is a statistical approach to shape analysis that efficiently and maximally incorporates the geometry of specimens into the analysis of their shapes. Traditional approaches to shape analysis rely on somewhat disparate collections of linear distances, ratios, and angular measurements that generally lose valuable shape information while still retaining size components. Most, but not all, geometric morphometric methods focus on the analysis of the two- or three-dimensional coordinates of anatomical points from which any distance or angle defined by those points can be computed. This preserves all geometric information obtainable from the points and creates a direct link from the statistical analysis back into the physical space of the specimen.

3D-ID is a dedicated, but flexible, Java program providing geometric morphometric tools to aid in the assessment of the sex and/or ancestral affiliation of unknown cranial remains. The user provides the three-dimensional coordinates of anatomical points available from the subject, and the program constructs comparable reference samples and assigns the subject to one of several groups for which sufficient data are available. Quantitative measures used in the assignment are provided for all tested groups so the investigator can make an informed choice after examining the relative similarity or distinctiveness of the specimen.


REQUIREMENTS: Any system running Java 1.5 or later.

There is no charge for the download and use of 3D-ID.

New Release: July 2018

Information on the new release can be found on the *NEW* FTCoE Webinar and Publications page.

Reference samples added: East and West African, Syrian, and Colombian

Now you can digitize directly into 3D-ID by using Revware's

Download MicroScribe Utility Software (MUS) 7

Please visit Tips and Tricks page for direction on landmark selection for specific reference samples.


This site also contains cranial 3D coordinate data collected from forensic remains. The database is searchable and downloadable as a .csv. These data were collected primarily to support the 3D-ID software as reference populations for identification purposes. More information about the database can be found on About 3D Database.

Click here if looking for the North Carolina Human Identification and Forensic Analysis Laboratory's Latin America Craniometric Database.

Data is continually collected and added to the database. Be sure to check the Recent Site Activity on the left sidebar. If you would like to contribute data to the database, please contact Ann Ross.

This site is maintained by the North Carolina Human Identification and Forensic Analysis Laboratory.


Ann H. Ross, Ph.D., D-ABFA, C-FASE

Website: https://bio.sciences.ncsu.edu/people/ahross/

E-mail: ahross@ncsu.edu


Dennis Slice, Ph.D.

Website: http://morphlab.sc.fsu.edu/

E-mail: dslice@morphometrics.org