Soft Computing

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 797–808 | Cite as

A cooperative coevolutionary approach dealing with the skull–face overlay uncertainty in forensic identification by craniofacial superimposition

  • O. IbáñezEmail author
  • O. Cordón
  • S. Damas


Craniofacial superimposition is a forensic process where photographs or video shots of a missing person are compared with the skull that is found. By projecting both photographs on top of each other (or, even better, matching a scanned three-dimensional skull model against the face photo/video shot), the forensic anthropologist can try to establish whether that is the same person. The whole process is influenced by inherent uncertainty mainly because two objects of different nature (a skull and a face) are involved. In previous work, we categorized the different sources of uncertainty and introduced the use of imprecise landmarks to tackle most of them. In this paper, we propose a novel approach, a cooperative coevolutionary algorithm, to deal with the use of imprecise cephalometric landmarks in the skull–face overlay process, the main task in craniofacial superimposition. Following this approach we are able to look for both the best projection parameters and the best landmark locations at the same time. Coevolutionary skull–face overlay results are compared with our previous fuzzy-evolutionary automatic method. Six skull–face overlay problem instances corresponding to three real-world cases solved by the Physical Anthropology Lab at the University of Granada (Spain) are considered. Promising results have been achieved, dramatically reducing the run time while improving the accuracy and robustness.


Forensic identification Craniofacial superimposition skull–face overlay Fuzzy landmarks Fuzzy distances Evolutionary algorithms CMA-ES Coevolutionary algorithm Genetic fuzzy systems 



This work is supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (ref. TIN2009–07727), including EDRF fundings. We would like to acknowledge all the team of the Physical Anthropology Lab at the University of Granada (headed by Dr. Botella and Dr. Alemán) for their support during the data acquisition and validation processes. Part of the experiments related to this work was supported by the computing resources at the Supercomputing Center of Galicia (CESGA), Spain.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Centre for Soft ComputingMieresSpain
  2. 2.DECSAI and CITIC-UGRUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain

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