Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Forensic Anthropology Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Randall Skelton

Commitee Members

Eric Bartelink, Dan Doyle, Ashley McKeown


geometric morphometrics, radiograph comparison, maxillary sinuses, positive identification


University of Montana


Positive identification of unknown individuals is highly important in the medicolegal field. Comparison of antemortem and postmortem radiographs is a popular and successful method of making a positive identification, but these methods are often extremely limited due to a lack of antemortem records. A positive identification method utilizing a type of radiograph that is more common in the antemortem record would be very useful for forensic anthropologists and other medicolegal professionals and could increase the likelihood of the individual in question being identified. Panoramic dental radiographs are commonly included in the standard dental exam and provide a clear view of the maxillary sinus region. Visual analysis of the maxillary sinus region of panoramic radiographs was performed by creating an online radiographic matching survey using sets of two radiographs from seven individuals and individual radiographs from seven other individuals. A total of 47 undergraduate and graduate students participated in the online survey. The results from this survey were used to calculate percentages correct for different variables and perform one-way ANOVA and chi-square analyses on the data using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). A preliminary geometric morphometrics analysis was also performed on the maxillary sinus outline shape using Shape 1.3. Results from both the visual and geometric analysis of maxillary sinus shape indicate that elements of the maxillary sinus area could be used as a relatively accurate method for positively identifying unknown individuals.



© Copyright 2014 Kelsey Michelle Collins