Trending: Call for Papers Volume 4 | Issue 4: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]



The body of a human being is a combination of various different systems. These includes the nervous system, muscular, skeleton, limbic, and the digestive system, which come together to form one and the most complex system of the human body that is a powerful phase of potential energy in the universe. With all of the functional systems of the human body, it can also be anatomized to show a system of various basic measurements that is known as the Anthropometric Measurements. Thus, anthropometry is the systematic assemblage as well as the correlation of different measurements of the human body. This system emerged in the early 18th century, where it was basically used for the purpose of identification of the criminals or the dead who are unrecognized or left unknown. It was once a very famous technique, which was developed by a French person, Alphonse Bertillon. This system uses various tools to complete the process of measurements and also serves various purposes at the same time. It has very important relevance in the history but for the present scenario, its use and relevance has major set back due to the advancements and innovation in different techniques such as the finger printing.


The   human   on   this   planet   belong   to   the   same   kind   of   species i.e., Homo sapiens but still there is about no two person who 1B.B.A LL.B Student at Banasthali Vidyapith. are congruent or same   in   their   measurements   and   physical appearance, not even the hereditrical and genetic indistinguishable monozygotic   twins   are   similar   in   all   of   their   attributes    and features   of   measurable   traits.    These    attributes passes    through various changes from the time of birth to death   ,   in   healthy conditions or in the sickness or some skeleton issues as the body development depends upon various factors making difference in the framework   proportions   of   the    skeleton   between   different areas    of the body. Thus, there is a need for some means of providing quantitative   statements for   the   dissimilarity   in   such   kinds    of features. Anthropometry   thus   helps   in   this   scenario   as   it is   a science   of   giving   a calculable statement   of   the   format    of    the human body, i.e., anthropometry refers to the measurements of the human   body,   whether   alive   or   dead.    Even though    there    are various techniques in the organic anthropology but still the anthropometry had its   own   unique   position   and   it   particular   about the   same   task.    The   traits   of   anthropometry are    directly   connected to   the   gender,   the   shape,   size    and    form   of   the    human   being and these features are related   to   each   other.   Thus   it   is   the systematic collection and association of   the measurements   of   the human   being.   The   principle   on   which   this   system   is   based   on, are: “Measurements of   various   body   parts   do   not   alter   after attaining   the   age   of   21yrs”,   “there   are no   two    individual   who show   same   measurements   in   all   respects”.   This   system    is applicable only on the adults section of the human race.


Forensic Science,   a   union   of   two   separate   terms   –   forensics   and the Science, where the first term refers to analysis and examination executed in public, it holds a   powerful   judicial connotation   and   the   subsequent   word   i.e.,   science   which   comes from a   latin   word   ‘scientia’ referred   to   as   knowledge.   Thus, together, Forensic Science go as in the application of scientific techniques and procedure in solving of the crime. Forensic refers to exercise of some scientific principles which can be used in the investigation of the crime. Knowledge   of   forensic   science   furnish   the    examiner with the power to identify chances that would   not   be   possible   in some other circumstances. Thus,   forensics   science   plays   a   very crucial role in the criminal identification.


Criminal identification   is   dependent   on   various   scientific   structure and has gained a legendary aspect with the hel[ of the police investigation. Scientifically   criminal   identification has   been   divided into two subheads – the old and conventional ways such as the Photography and the ANTHROPOMERTY,   it   rely   on   the apprehension of the suspect, after which the photograph and   his physical   measurements   are   taken.   These    descriptions    are further used in the coming time to recognize the person again.

  • PHOTOGRAPH: In the early 1840’s,   to   keep   the   tracks   of the culprits   or   accused   or   the suspects,   police   used   photographs, such photos used to word as important   ingredients   of   the
  • ANTHROPOMETRY: The science of anthropometric measurements, also known as anthropometry   was   discovered in   the late 19th   century   by   M   Alphonse   Bertillon,   who   was   then   the chief of criminal identification for the police   of    This   system was   termed    as   the   Bertillon system   and it accrued   a   huge   amount of support, acceptance and popularity throughout the world. It used diligent and ultra-careful   physical   measurements   of   different body parts   to   create   a well-explained   description.   In   the   starting, this system, was   used   to   help   the   investigator   in determining whether   the   criminal   was   involved   in   any   kind    of   crime    before in the   past   and   it   was   comparatively   used   very   less   for determining   the   identification   of   an    unknown perpetrators.    Thus, this system is broadly used as a   tool   for   identification   of   the habitual offenders.   It   includes    taking    measurements    of    some definite parts of the human   body   and then categorizing   that   person into certain criteria.

Anthropometry is generally looked upto as a customary sys.   thus making it   the   very   basic   method   of   the   biological   anthropology, still it   has a   clear   strong   and   a long   bond   with   the   forensic science   an   is   further   making   its   grasp   in   the medical    areas majorly focusing on the disciplines of the forensics. It is mostly objective and is depended on the skilled and highly trained anthropometrics and a new term was proposed, “forensic anthropometry”. The field of Forensic anthropometry and that of a skeletal biologist are inter providing as a good forensic anthropologist must be by definition, a good skeletal biologist . In his effort to re-construct the biological nature of individuals at the time of death, he used various method such as somatometry, cephalometry, craniometry and osteometry . His experience in studying pre-historic skeletons from archaeological sites and also modern skeletons came in handy.


It was the 18th century that marked the rise of some scientific measurement techniques. By this time the people of scientific community had a great focus on the general differences and changes in the human beings which was due to the inspection and accommodation of the foreign lands. Various studies were done by the people of European countries which also led to a lot of development in the field of science, art and culture. Also within the domain of the scientific studies, a French scientist raised known as Alphonse Bertillon.

In the year 1883, Alphonse Bertillon was a pioneer who nominated a system of identification, known as the Bertillon system or the anthropometric measurements or anthropometry, which include a series of different body measurements and the physical description, it was also used as standard techniques for the purpose of criminal investigation. Anthropometry is the process of acquiring systematic measurements of the body of a human. The anthropometric measurements such as the size include height, weight, volume, composition of bones and muscles, description of the structure of the human body. Bertillon system throughout time had various scientific as well as pseudo-scientific manifestations, the measurements of the size, volume of the skull, study of different kinds of fossils, biological anthropological study, measurements of any jolt in the head or skull in order to forecast the mental attributes, general look and styles characteristics and shape, symmetry and size of face and the relational among different anthropometry as well as personal identification of any individual. The applications of bertillon system is hardly non controversial, it ranges from accurate scientific description and epidemiological analysis and efforts of rationalization of eugenics and overtly racist social movements.

Bertillon gave an analyzed report informing about his system but it didn’t caught the interest and attention of the Prefecture, hence, they ignored it assuming that it was some kind of joke. In the winter of the year 1881, the retirement of the prefecture took place and it’s substitution gave the accordby agreeing to execute the system. This system was officially acquired by the police of Paris, in the year 1882 and it spread with an incredible speed all over France, Europe and the other parts of the world. In the year 1887 it was launched in the United States by Major R.W. McClaughry, he was the warden of the Illinois State Penitentiary. Thus standardization of this system in the whole world basically meant that it is the first in the history where any person who has been properly classified can be identified at any later date.

Thus, Alphonse Bertillon developed and started the very well known system of the Bertillonage, also it is based on the very fact that there is the presence of several structures of bones in the human body and the system of this structure also provides a group of different measurements to every person who commits crime and such measurements often includes the height, stretch, head length, foot, ear, check width, bust, the cubit and the middle finger. This system of bertillonage was adopted by various European systems of justice, even if this system was helpful and famous but still it had many difficulties riddles in it.

CASE: Using Bertillon measurements a criminal under arrest was measured, evaluated and photographed. The complete task was made as a card and was indexed and was then place in the specific kind of categories. These categories are related to various offender and offence, therefore there was no difficulty to compare the new records to the already present ones and if any match was found, a new offence was thus entered into that criminal’s card.


Anthropometry   can   be   subdivided   into   Somatometry   which includes Cephalometry   and Osteometry   which includes   Craniometry Somatometry

It is in simple term the measurement of living body and the cadaver including head and face .Somatometry is considered as a major tool in the study of human biological variability including morphological variation .In the studies of morphological variations by nature a focus is in the variations within an among populations. Somatometry is useful in the study of age estimation based on body measurement in a given set of individuals assembles useful study should be desembled selected will be well documented . The description can vary from specimen to specimen shall include data such as a bird death, age sex ending group, geographical occasions, social economic status etc. and point of note is that age shall be expressed in days upto the age of one month then after the decimen of year should be used applying if necessary tables further commutation. Atala and marshal described a method to estimate the chronological age of british boys and girls from different body segments using somatometric techniques. seven body measurement were used to estimate the chronological age of a child and the accuracy of the estimation and discussed applicability of the method on both live individuals as well as on cadavers. According to Olivier 19, Weiner and Lourie10, Lohman et al20,Hall et al21 all the somatometry measurements including the measurements of the head and face can be used for estimating stature from different body segments.


Is the measurements of the skeletons and its various parts i.e. the bones and skull and can be defined as a technique to take measurements of the skeleton system . Using this system the forensic scientist can compare the variations of skeletons systems and its measurements of different populations . Throw this techniques a forensic scientist can compare the measurements of the bonny skeletons in various populations it has been successfully used in the estimation of stature, age, sex and race in forensic as well as legal cases . These four parameters i.e. age, sex, race and stature are considered as the “Big Fours” of forensic anthropology. and various study have and are being done in this regard.


The most ultimate and most important aim of the forensic anthropometry of using anthropometry in the field of science is to provide help to the legal enforcement and law agencies in arriving to define the “personal identification”, in the case where there is the scenario of unknown human remains. The anthropometry or anthropometric measurements are generally used to evaluate the shape, size and other different composition of body of a human being. There are certain common methods that are used to ascertain these measurements such as the BMI, the Skin- fold test, the bioelectrical impedance and the waist-to-hip ratio. The goal of forensic anthropometry is to examine and evaluate the age of an individual at the time of death, the stature, the type of body i.e., whether samatotype, sex of the person and any more features bases on various physical and the skeletal measures in order to indentify the deceased person. the body and is expressed in kg/m2 as units. Different agencies like the agencies that provide Health care, the government agencies and the insurance agencies often uses the BMI regulate whether a person is obese, undersized or bulky. Anthropometric measurement can also be a life saving technique as it includes different measurements that may sometimes be linked to some atrocious diseases, like diabetes or heart diseases or certain form of cancers.

The system of anthropometry can also be used while doing the study of the group of people. This benefits and creates a broader approach to allow researchers to examine and record the health conditions and various concerns

  1. c) Supine position-


To acquire the anthropometric measurements, various specific kinds of specialised and exclusive tools are used.

  1. Anthropometers: these are used to measure the length and the circumference of the various segments of the body.
  2. Body marks- this tells about any marks which are present on the body of human that can help to identify an For eg.
    • Tattoo marks
  • Birth marks
  • Moles
  • Scars

Complications and Demerits of Bertillon system

Complications Ancient anthropometry includes the civilisation of ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt using the anthropometry to measure the cultural purpose to describe the beauty , strength and other various attributes of the human,

During the period of Renaissance, i.e., the period of the rebirth of the cultural, artistic, economic and political scene of European countries, following the middle ages. It can be basically described as the time period from 14th to the 17th century. This period defines the relocation of the philosophy art and the literature, the anthropometry was applied to the different artistic kinds of work by the way of applying to human proportions. There are certain examples by of the use of anthropometry in the period of the renaissance, where on the one side is the work of the very famous artist Leonardo da Vinci who measured the human body by scrutinizing the corpse and on the other side, the other artists depended on the live model and the achievements of the history to acquire the anthropometric measurements. In the early 18th century, stature was mostly used as the replacement or we can say that it was used as an anthropometric measurement for the purpose of military, slavery or any other beneficial purposes. It was found that the emigrants of the North America displayed the stature of a shorter nature as compared to the others born on the land of America. Further, this discovery leads the people to the use of anthropometry to evaluate the health, nutrition and various other consequential socioeconomic factors, in particular to the time of the development and growth. As these factors like nutrition, hypoxia, pollution, infectious factors and many more other forms of psychological factors leading to stress are consociated with the different patterns of growth. In a way, the size of the stature accurately indicates information about the growth and development of the country and its people. Thus, the taller the stature is, it indicates the more of the increased wealth, whereas the weight in the modern population is the indicator of poor economic and social status. The anthropometric measurement, originated at the time when the, study of human biology and the evolution of the cultural aspects, energized and vitalised the interest in the organised portrayal of both the populations: the living and the extinct. Later, in the 19th century, the data collected under anthropometry was applied, by different scientist like social scientist in order to support the theories that were connected to the human biology and their race with other aspects of intellectual and different cultural growth and development. Also, a psychiatrist and sociologist of Italy: Cesare Lombroso, used the anthropometric measurements for the anthropometric measurement includes the use of multi adaptable statistics to evaluate the biological marks to gain the different characteristics of shape or angles. Now-a-days, the use of the computing technologies has helped a lot in the field of the evolution of the morphometrics geometry, which uses the strong computational methods to evaluate different characteristics. At present, the famous application of this is, analysing the bone density. The anthropologists and the criminologists still uses these anthropometric measurements which conferring the study of evolution of the human body with the level of competition to the fossils remains for the purpose of archiving the specimens and the forensics. Also its currents applications are: interpretation of the anthropometric measurements. Due to various other advancements and innovation in the technologies at present, such as the finger printing, the facial recognition, retina scans etc, the methods of anthropometry has gone old school and some how have lost their uniqueness and its importance. Such advancements have led to the set back of the in the present scenario, this method and techniques of the anthropometry are not of much use.


The suggestions are that, this system of anthropometry must not be thrown

 Visited on 11 September 2019