Skip main navigation

Shape modelling in biological anthropology

Watch Dr Stefan Schlager present another application of shape modelling: biological anthropology.
7.4
You have come a long way during the last weeks. You learned to understand shape models and to build your own models using Scalismo.
20.1
Now, let us look into a further application: biological anthropology.
31.6
Imagine somebody finds a fragment of a human mandible beneath the autumn leaves.
40.4
How did it end up here?
45.1
To whom did it belong? One way to answer these questions is to complete the fragment in a way that allows further identification. Maybe, even modelling certain characteristic features in accordance with their statistical occurrence. Later, the results might be checked against parameters of missing persons. This is where biological anthropology comes in. Meet Dr. Stefan Schlager. He works in the Department of Biological Anthropology at the Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany.
83.7
He is a pioneering expert in the field of shape modelling, a wizard when it comes to pushing the envelope of what shape modelling can do. A reconstruction based on a mandible was one of the early assignments he solved for shape modelling.
128.7
But today, he uses software to go even further.
133.5
He models faces and implants to support surgeons like Dr. Metzger.
142.7
He might help answer how a shattered bone has to be reconstructed during surgery.

In this course we have been focussing mainly on medical applications of shape modelling. Here we take you on a visit to Dr Stefan Schlager, a biological anthropologist who also works with shape models.

He shows us the reconstruction of a skull based only on a fragment found in a wood – a forensic application. This research on the reconstruction of missing or shattered bone is also made available to surgeons like Dr Metzger, whom we met at the beginning of Week 5 of this course.

This article is from the free online

Statistical Shape Modelling: Computing the Human Anatomy

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education