Immutable truths about facial reconstruction

The latest in my ‘Learn Something New Every Day’ series – taken from The Great Courses’ Trails of Evidence: How Forensic Science Works (Lecture 25 – Police Sketches & Facial Reproduction)

A forensic artist’s job is essentially to capture how someone’s face is different from the norm, but first they have to know what those norms are. Today I discovered that the average adult face:

  • is roughly five times the width of its eye
  • has one eye’s width between its two eyes
  • has eyes that fall half way down the face
  • has ears and nose that are roughly level

And that

  • Facial wrinkles develop perpendicular to the grain of the muscle beneath them (so particular muscle masses would lend themselves to particular wrinkle clusters)
  • Lighter skin shows greater age changes than people with darker skin

Forensic artists would use all this knowledge to first create the ‘average’ face and then to tweak it until it reflected all the individual qualities of the person of interest.