Snapshot Facial Reconstruction

By combining two complementary methods of estimating appearance from skeletal evidence — DNA phenotyping and forensic facial reconstruction — the Snapshot Facial Reconstruction Service produces the most fully informed recreations of antemortem appearance ever produced from skeletal remains.


Reconstruction Process

Stages of a Snapshot Facial Reconstruction: (1) a Snapshot composite produced from DNA extracted from the subject's bone; (2) Snapshot composite with skull overlay; (3) Snapshot composite after rescaling to conform to skull dimensions; (4) a cutaway image illustrating near final composite; and (5) final, blended Snapshot composite.

How Snapshot Facial Reconstruction Works

Snapshot phenotyping algorithms are used to predict a decedent's appearance and ancestry using DNA extracted from bone. Independently, a traditional facial reconstruction is performed by a forensic artist who has been specifically trained to interpret Snapshot DNA Phenotyping results. Tissue depth markers are physically applied to the decedent's skull, based on DNA-determined ancestry and estimated body weight, to produce a prediction of face shape from cranial morphology. A final composite is then produced by digitally blending the two predictions.


Reconstruction Process

Thom Shaw, an IAI-certified forensic artist at Parabon NanoLabs, performing a physical facial reconstruction and the digital adaptation of a Snapshot composite to reflect details gleaned from the victim's facial morphology.

Benefits of Snapshot Facial Reconstruction

Combining DNA phenotyping and forensic facial reconstruction has several benefits over either method applied individually:


Reconstruction Overview

When the evidence for a case includes the victim's skull (A), it may be possible to perform forensic facial reconstruction to further enhance the Snapshot prediction (B), resulting in the final blended Snapshot composite (C).