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FORDISC, an interactive discriminant functions program created by Stephen Ousley and Richard Jantz, is widely used by forensic anthropologists to assist in the creation of a decedent's biological profile when only parts of the cranium are available. The program compares potential profiles to data contained in a database of skeletal measurements of modern humans.[1] This method has been used by the FBI.[2]

Using ForDisc, a decedent’s biological profile can be created based on measurements from various areas of bones, along with information about the person's age, height, race, and illnesses. ForDisc uses standard anthropometric measurements including maximum length, maximum breadth, bi-zygomatic breadth, orbital breadth and height, maximum alveolar breadth and width, minimum frontal breadth, basion-bregma, basion-prosthion, cranial base length, bi-auricular breadth, upper facial height and breadth, foramen magnum breadth and length, frontal chord, parietal chord, occipital chord, nasal height and breadth, bi-orbital breadth, interorbital breadth, and mastoid length. The data behind this software largely originated from the Forensic Data Bank, which is contributed to by the University of Tennessee and other contributing institutions. The Forensic Data Bank is a currently ongoing effort to record information about modern populations, primarily from forensic cases. This software is able to estimate the sex, ancestry, and stature from a skeleton of unknown identity. This software also can be used for international hearings of war crime and investigations of human rights.[1] This database is continually updated. ForDisc is used widely by many anthropologists around the world and has helped in the progression of the field of anthropology. New and updated versions are created and added as more knowledge is acquired. The newest version, ForDisc 3.0 is an interactive forensic software that runs under the Windows system. Other versions of ForDisc are often updated. The new features of ForDisc 2.0 are improved pictorial guide to measurements, and improved file management and printer control; larger number of variables, including postcranial variables; larger numbers of groups, including Howells' world wide cranial data.


  1. ^ Ousley, S.D., and R.L. Jantz (2005) FORDISC 3.0: Personal Computer Forensic Discriminant Functions. University of Tennessee
  2. ^ Application of Forensic Discriminant Functions to a Spanish Cranial Sample, by Douglas H. Ubelaker, Ann H. Ross, Sally M. Graver Forensic Science Communications July 2002 — Volume 4 — Number 3 [1]


FORDISC website