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Forensic Facial Reconstruction

By Coonrod, Claire

April 27, 2022


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Students in Forensic Science have been learning about facial reconstruction, the process of rebuilding a person’s face, usually in clay or plasticines, over a skull. It is sometimes used to recreate missing persons, perpetrators, or victims in forensic cases.


This activity helped students discover the different stages of facial reconstruction. Working in groups of two, students were assigned a real missing person whose face was to be reconstructed.


The process included first cutting and mounting silicon erasers to serve as tissue depth markers at specific locations on the skull. Then using clay, they formed the muscles that exist below the skin. Next, they used thin layers of clay to form skin over areas that are more “lumpy.” Last they smoothed out the surface of the face making it as life-like as possible, even adding hair and detailed facial features.


Some of the reconstructed faces are chillingly alike to the missing person!