Standard Article

Ear Photographs: Examination and Forensic Potential

  1. Janet M. Monge1,2

Published Online: 15 MAR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470061589.fsa1014

Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science

Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science

How to Cite

Monge, J. M. 2011. Ear Photographs: Examination and Forensic Potential. Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Pennsylvania, Department of Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA, USA

  2. 2

    University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2011


Although the potential exists for the identification of humans based on measurement and observational features of the human ear, this potential has yet to be fully explored scientifically. As such, although it is tempting to apply both visual inspection and measurement criteria to exposed ears viewed in video surveillance, its efficacy in meeting evidential standards has yet to be established. Certainly a large amount of variation exists in the various features that compose the human ear but how those variations are patterned remains unknown on the individual, familial, and the population levels. Compounding these essential issues are difficulties in controlling for the quality and detail resolution of the visual representations (video and/or still photographic) used for comparisons within a forensic context.


  • forensic anthropology;
  • ear morphology;
  • video surveillance;
  • photographic identification;
  • human variation;
  • linear measurement;
  • Darwin's tubercle