Bio


Bridget F.B. Algee-Hewitt is a biological anthropologist who studies how skeletal and genetic traits vary among contemporary peoples, across space and through time. She develops new computational methods, using machine learning/AI and geographic mapping algorithms, and hands-on DNA and osteology laboratory approaches to improve estimation of the personal identity parameters – like sex, ancestry, stature, and age – that are essential components of the biological profile used in forensic identification of unknown human remains and for the paleodemographic reconstruction of past population histories in bioarchaeology. As a practicing forensic anthropologist and geneticist, she provides forensic casework consultation to the medico-legal community. She also delivers expert testimony for asylum petitions and advocates for policy change in support of undocumented migrant and refugee rights. Her social justice work focuses on immigration, displacement, poverty, and violence in Latin America, addressing in particular the crisis of migrant deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read more on her CCSRE webpage (https://ccsre.stanford.edu/people/bridget-fb-algee-hewitt).

View a list of Dr. Algee-Hewitt's recent publications, grants and projects (https://ccsre.stanford.edu/algee-hewitt-selected-publications-current-projects-grants).
Visit her Publons (https://publons.com/researcher/1667208/bridget-fb-algee-hewitt/) and ORCID (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3525-2131) profile pages.

See Dr. Algee-Hewitt's recent talk on Race, Rights and Facial Recognition at the Stanford Institute for Human Artificial Intelligence (HAI) conference on AI Ethics, Policy and Governance (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPx9P1Mybu8&feature=youtu.be&t=15262).

Watch her speak at the Center for Latin American Studies on La vida no vale nada? The Crisis of Migrants Deaths along the U.S.-México Border (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMGQ_XHqn_k&feature=youtu.be), or view an excerpt from her opening remarks for the Vigil for Missing Migrants on the International Day of the Disappeared (https://youtu.be/PRehspYmfO8).

Academic Appointments


  • Senior Research Scientist, Humanities and Sciences Interdepartmental Programs

Honors & Awards


  • Age-at-death in the Philippines: skeletal morphology, life-history and new methodologies, Wenner-Gren Foundation (2018-2019)
  • New Methods In Skeletal Age-At-Death Estimation For Diverse Populations, Wenner-Gren Foundation (2017-2018)
  • Modeling Surface Morphology Of The Pubic Symphysis, National Institute of Justice (2015-DN-BX-K010) (2015-2018)

All Publications


  • Evaluating population affinity estimates in forensic anthropology: Insights from the forensic anthropology database for assessing methods accuracy (FADAMA). Journal of forensic sciences Winburn, A. P., Algee-Hewitt, B. 2021

    Abstract

    Using a sample of anonymized U.S. forensic anthropology cases (n=251) from the FADAMA database, we assess the degree of concordance between decedents' social identifiers and anthropologists' continental-based classifications. We report high success rates (>90%) that generally support previous findings, yet we acknowledge the limitations of assessing "ancestry" accuracy based on resolved cases and draw attention to situations in which our methods fail. For example, forensic anthropologists achieve just 20% accuracy when classifying individuals as "other" or "mixed"-problematic categories that we argue should be rejected. Leveraging our findings, we ask: what are we really estimating when we perform a skeletal assessment of "ancestry" in the US context? We argue that the "ancestry estimates" historically and routinely produced in forensic anthropology instead give information on population affinity: a measure of how similar a given case is to one among several socially relevant groups of interest. Distancing forensic anthropology from genetics and other disciplines that estimate ancestry, the approach of population affinity assesses similarities to both social and biological groupings, potentially at a fine-grained level, attempting to account for the complex histories, shared biologies, and wide ranges of diversity that characterize our communities and our casework. Population affinity is a flexible and inclusive approach that more accurately describes current forensic anthropological analyses of human variation. Going forward, we must acknowledge and build on the contributions of previous scholars as we work together toward our shared goal of theoretically grounded analyses of human variation that accurately and equitably serve all casework decedents.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/1556-4029.14731

    View details for PubMedID 33899936

  • Comparing genetic variation among Latin American migrants: implications for forensic casework in the Texas- and Arizona-Mexico Borderlands New, B. T., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Spradley, K., Fehren-Schmitz, L., Hughes, C., Anderson, B., Jasinski, M. E., Arciszewska, J., Zielinska, G., Szargut, M., Ossowski, A. WILEY. 2020: 199–200
  • A computational framework for estimating ancestry and adult age-at-death from shape measures of the pubic symphysis Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Kim, J. WILEY. 2020: 5–6
  • Implications for Identifications: Exploring How Collaborative Efforts Mitigate Structural Vulnerabilities of Missing Migrants along the Arizona-Mexico Border Hughes, C. E., Reineke, R. C., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Anderson, B. E. WILEY. 2020: 126–27
  • How is identity reflected in the human face? Afra, K., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Hamilton, M. D. WILEY. 2020: 2–3
  • Cadaveric blood cards: Assessing DNA quality and quantity and the utility of STRs for the individual estimation of trihybrid ancestry and admixture proportions. Forensic Science International (Online) West, F. L., Algee-Hewitt, B. F. 2020; 2: 114–22

    Abstract

    As part a body donation program, blood samples were collected and stored on untreated (non-FTA) blood cards. The blood cards were evaluated in terms of DNA preservation and STR typing success with resulting profiles assessed with special consideration given to profile matching for positive identification and biogeographic ancestry estimation. While STR profiles were successfully generated for all samples, results indicate that the time interval between date of death and sample collection have an impact on DNA quantity and quality. There is a statistically significant decrease in relative fluorescent unit (RFU) values with increasing time interval between date of death and sample collection, indicating degradation in the blood card samples related to the post-mortem interval prior to sample collection. The STR profiles were used to estimate ancestry and admixture using the program STRUCTURE, demonstrating utility of these markers beyond individual identification purposes, with caveats for application based on population history.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.fsisyn.2020.03.002

    View details for PubMedID 32412010

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7219121

  • Age Indicators Reveal Population Information: A New Computational Framework for Estimating Ancestry from Pubic Symphyseal Shape Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Kim, J. WILEY. 2019: 5
  • A Study on the Asymmetry of the Human Left and Right Pubic Symphyseal Surfaces Using High-Definition Data Capture and Computational Shape Methods JOURNAL OF FORENSIC SCIENCES Stoyanova, D. K., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Kim, J., Slice, D. E. 2019; 64 (2): 494–501
  • Understanding (Mis)classification Trends of Latin Americans in Fordisc 3.1: Incorporating Cranial Morphology, Microgeographic Origin, and Admixture Proportions for Interpretation Hughes, C. E., Dudzik, B., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Jones, A., Anderson, B. E. WILEY. 2019: 353–66
  • Testing Reliability of the Computational Age-At-Death Estimation Methods between Five Observers Using Three-Dimensional Image Data of the Pubic Symphysis Kim, J., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Stoyanova, D. K., Figueroa-Soto, C., Slice, D. E. WILEY. 2019: 507–18
  • Testing the applicability of shape-based computational age-at-death estimation methods using pubic symphyseal surface scans of Asian Origin Kim, J., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Stoyanova, D. K., Figueroa-Soto, C., Slice, D. E. WILEY. 2019: 124–25
  • Statistical Detection of Relatives Typed with Disjoint Forensic and Biomedical Loci CELL Kim, J., Edge, M. D., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Li, J. Z., Rosenberg, N. A. 2018; 175 (3): 848-+
  • Statistical Detection of Relatives Typed with Disjoint Forensic and Biomedical Loci. Cell Kim, J., Edge, M. D., Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Li, J. Z., Rosenberg, N. A. 2018

    Abstract

    In familial searching in forensic genetics, a query DNA profile is tested against a database to determine whether it represents a relative of a database entrant. We examine the potential for using linkage disequilibrium to identify pairs of profiles as belonging torelatives when the query and database rely on nonoverlapping genetic markers. Considering data on individuals genotyped with both microsatellites used in forensic applications and genome-wide SNPs, we find that 30%-32% of parent-offspring pairs and 35%-36% of sib pairs can be identified from the SNPs of one member of the pair and the microsatellites of the other. The method suggests the possibility of performing familial searches of microsatellite databases using query SNP profiles, or vice versa. It also reveals that privacy concerns arising from computations across multiple databases that share no genetic markers in common entail risks, not only for database entrants, but for their close relatives as well.

    View details for PubMedID 30318150

  • Understanding (Mis)classification Trends of Latin Americans in Fordisc 3.1: Incorporating Cranial Morphology, Microgeographic Origin, and Admixture Proportions for Interpretation. Journal of forensic sciences Hughes, C. E., Dudzik, B., Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Jones, A., Anderson, B. E. 2018

    Abstract

    Assigning correct population affinity to a skeleton can contribute important information to an investigation-yet recent work highlights high error rates when classifying Latinos with a traditional tool, Fordisc 3.1 (FD3). Our study examines whether misclassification trends exist, and whether these can be used to infer population affinity. We examine the relationships among ancestry, geography, and FD3 misclassifications of Latinos using canonical variate analysis and unsupervised model-based clustering of craniometrics. Northern Mexicans appear more strongly associated with FD3 references samples with elevated amounts of European ancestry (e.g., American Blacks and Whites), while Southern Mexicans are more strongly associated with FD3 reference samples with reduced amounts of European ancestry (e.g., Guatemalans and Native Americans). FD3 classifications revealed that Latinos exhibited lower posterior probabilities when compared to other common case demographics (Whites and African Americas), even when the classification was "correct." We make recommendations for practitioner interpretation of FD3 reports for casework.

    View details for PubMedID 30153700

  • An Admixture Approach to Trihybrid Ancestry Variation in the Philippines with Implications for Forensic Anthropology HUMAN BIOLOGY Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Hughes, C. E., Go, M. C., Dudzik, B. 2018; 90 (3): 177–95
  • Population Identifiability from Forensic Genetic Markers: Ancestry Variation in Latin America HUMAN BIOLOGY Hughes, C. E., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Konigsberg, L. W. 2018; 90 (3): 161–75
  • Age-at-Death Estimation for Modern Populations in Mexico and Puerto Rico through the Use of 3D Laser Scans of the Pubic Symphysis HUMAN BIOLOGY Soto, C., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Bravo Morante, G., Slice, D. E., Steadman, D. W. 2018; 90 (3): 213–29
  • Matching CODIS genotypes to SNP genotypes using linkage disequilibrium Edge, M. D., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Kim, J., Pemberton, T., Li, J. Z., Rosenberg, N. A. WILEY. 2018: 75–76
  • Age-at-death estimation based on the female pubic symphysis using computational methods and 3D laser scans Stoyanova, D. K., Kim, J., Figueroa-Soto, C., Slice, D. E., Algee-Hewitt, B. B. WILEY. 2018: 266
  • Compatibility of Ancestry Composition Estimations of Forensic STR loci versus Ancestry Informative Markers Hughes, C. E., Algee-Hewitt, B. B. WILEY. 2018: 128
  • Computing Ancestry and Race: narrative and semantic patterns in the forensic language of identity Algee-Hewitt, M. A., Algee-Hewitt, B. WILEY. 2018: 8
  • Temporal, Geographic and Identification Trends in Craniometric Estimates of Ancestry for Persons of Latin American Origin Forensic Anthropology ALGEE-HEWITT, B. F., et al 2018; 1 (1)

    View details for DOI 10.5744/fa.2018.0002

  • Thinking Computationally about Forensics: Anthropological Perspectives on Advancements in Technologies, Data, and Algorithms HUMAN BIOLOGY Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Kim, J., Hughes, C. E. 2018; 90 (1): 5–10
  • Thinking Computationally about Forensics: Anthropological Perspectives on Advancements in Technologies, Data, and Algorithms. Human biology Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Kim, J., Hughes, C. E. 2018; 90 (1): 5–10

    View details for PubMedID 30387386

  • Testing inter-observer reliability of the Transition Analysis aging method on the William M. Bass forensic skeletal collection. American journal of physical anthropology Fojas, C. L., Kim, J. n., Minsky-Rowland, J. D., Algee-Hewitt, B. F. 2018; 165 (1): 183–93

    Abstract

    Skeletal age estimation is an integral part of the biological profile. Recent work shows how multiple-trait approaches better capture senescence as it occurs at different rates among individuals. Furthermore, a Bayesian statistical framework of analysis provides more useful age estimates. The component-scoring method of Transition Analysis (TA) may resolve many of the functional and statistical limitations of traditional phase-aging methods and is applicable to both paleodemography and forensic casework. The present study contributes to TA-research by validating TA for multiple, differently experienced observers using a collection of modern forensic skeletal cases.Five researchers independently applied TA to a random sample of 58 documented individuals from the William M. Bass Forensic Skeletal Collection, for whom knowledge of chronological age was withheld. Resulting scores were input into the ADBOU software and maximum likelihood estimates (MLEs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were produced using the forensic prior. Krippendorff's alpha was used to evaluate interrater reliability and agreement. Inaccuracy and bias were measured to gauge the magnitude and direction of difference between estimated ages and chronological ages among the five observers.The majority of traits had moderate to excellent agreement among observers (≥0.6). The superior surface morphology had the least congruence (0.4), while the ventral symphyseal margin had the most (0.9) among scores. Inaccuracy was the lowest for individuals younger than 30 and the greatest for individuals over 60. Consistent over-estimation of individuals younger than 30 and under-estimation of individuals over 40 years old occurred. Individuals in their 30s showed a mixed pattern of under- and over-estimation among observers.These results support the use of the TA method by researchers of varying experience levels. Further, they validate its use on forensic cases, given the low error overall.

    View details for PubMedID 29072307

  • A Study on the Asymmetry of the Human Left and Right Pubic Symphyseal Surfaces Using High-Definition Data Capture and Computational Shape Methods. Journal of forensic sciences Stoyanova, D. K., Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Kim, J. n., Slice, D. E. 2018

    Abstract

    The pubic symphysis is among the most commonly used bilateral age indicators. Because of potential differences between right and left sides, it is necessary to investigate within-individual asymmetry, which can inflate age estimation error. This study uses 3D laser scans of paired pubic symphyses for 88 documented White males. Scan data are analyzed by numerical shape algorithms, proposed as an alternative to traditional visual assessment techniques. Results are used to quantify the within-individual asymmetry, evaluating if one side produces a better age-estimate. Relationships between the asymmetry and advanced age, weight, and stature are examined. This analysis indicates that the computational, shape-based techniques are robust to asymmetry (>80% of paired differences are within 10 years and >90% are within 15 years). For notably more asymmetric cases, differences in estimates are not associated with life history factors. Based on this study, either side can be used for age-at-death estimation by the computational methods.

    View details for PubMedID 30028900

  • Testing Reliability of the Computational Age-At-Death Estimation Methods between Five Observers Using Three-Dimensional Image Data of the Pubic Symphysis. Journal of forensic sciences Kim, J. n., Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Stoyanova, D. K., Figueroa-Soto, C. n., Slice, D. E. 2018

    Abstract

    In an effort to standardize data collection and analysis in age estimation, a series of computational methods utilizing high-dimensional image data of the age indicator have recently been proposed as an alternative to subjective visual, trait-to-phase matching techniques. To systematically quantify the reproducibility of such methods, we investigate the intrascan variability and within- and between-observer reliability in initial scan data capturing and editing using 3D laser scans of the Suchey-Brooks pubic symphysis casts and five shape-based computational methods. Our results show that (i) five observers with various training background and experience levels edited the scans consistently for all three trials and the derived shape measures and age estimates were in excellent agreement among observers, and (ii) the computational methods are robust to a measured degree of scan trimming error. This study supports the application of computational methods to 3D laser scanned images for reliable age-at-death estimation, with reduced subjectivity.

    View details for PubMedID 29940694

  • Inter-observer Reliability of the Transition Analysis Aging Method on the William M. Bass Forensic Skeletal Collection American Journal of Physical Anthropology Kim, J., Fojas, C., Minsky-Rowland, J., ALGEE-HEWITT, B. 2018; 165

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ajpa.23342

  • Linkage disequilibrium matches forensic genetic records to disjoint genomic marker sets. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Edge, M. D., Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Pemberton, T. J., Li, J. Z., Rosenberg, N. A. 2017; 114 (22): 5671-5676

    Abstract

    Combining genotypes across datasets is central in facilitating advances in genetics. Data aggregation efforts often face the challenge of record matching-the identification of dataset entries that represent the same individual. We show that records can be matched across genotype datasets that have no shared markers based on linkage disequilibrium between loci appearing in different datasets. Using two datasets for the same 872 people-one with 642,563 genome-wide SNPs and the other with 13 short tandem repeats (STRs) used in forensic applications-we find that 90-98% of forensic STR records can be connected to corresponding SNP records and vice versa. Accuracy increases to 99-100% when ∼30 STRs are used. Our method expands the potential of data aggregation, but it also suggests privacy risks intrinsic in maintenance of databases containing even small numbers of markers-including databases of forensic significance.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1619944114

    View details for PubMedID 28507140

  • Temporal trends in craniometric estimates of admixture for a modern American sample. American journal of physical anthropology Algee-Hewitt, B. F. 2017

    Abstract

    Temporal trends in craniometric estimates of admixture are investigated for three U.S. populations in the FDB. Patterns of association between birth years and posterior probabilities of cluster membership are identified to assess how these proportions of admixture have changed over recent time. Demographic and genetic data correlates, patterns of morphological expression, and shifts in source populations are evaluated.Estimates of three-way admixture were obtained for 1,521 individuals of documented population, sex, and birth years that span the 20th century. Correlations were calculated between birth years and admixture proportions for members of each FDB population. Population and sex-specific admixture variation was further assessed by ANOVA and regression. Correlation analysis was used to identify, per population, which of the cranial measurements change in dimension under increased or decreased admixture.Admixture proportions differ significantly by population and change over time. No sex differences are detected. Analysis of the relationship between admixture proportions and ILDs finds that admixture drives morphological change in areas of the cranium known to vary among populations. Results agree with prior work on secular change.Findings reveal a progressive increase in White-European population admixture for the self-identified Black individuals, a recent demographic shift toward the increased representation of Hispanic individuals carrying greater Native American ancestry, and reduction in admixture for White individuals that suggest a loss of diversity over time. Changes in admixture produce tractable differences in morphological expression. Both sexes exhibit similar admixture proportions and self-identification patterns. Observed diachronic trends are corroborated by information on recent U.S. demographic change.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ajpa.23242

    View details for PubMedID 28543029

  • Left or Right Pubic Symphysis: Asymmetry Analysis of Age-at-Death Estimation Using 3D Laser Scans and Computational Algorithms Stoyanova, D. K., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Kim, J., Slice, D. E. WILEY. 2017: 372
  • A Computational Framework for Age-at-Death Estimation from the Skeleton: Surface and Outline Analysis of 3D Laser Scans of the Adult Pubic Symphysis. Journal of forensic sciences Stoyanova, D. K., Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Kim, J., Slice, D. E. 2017

    Abstract

    In forensic anthropology, age-at-death estimation typically requires the macroscopic assessment of the skeletal indicator and its association with a phase or score. High subjectivity and error are the recognized disadvantages of this approach, creating a need for alternative tools that enable the objective and mathematically robust assessment of true chronological age. We describe, here, three fully computational, quantitative shape analysis methods and a combinatory approach that make use of three-dimensional laser scans of the pubic symphysis. We report a novel age-related shape measure, focusing on the changes observed in the ventral margin curvature, and refine two former methods, whose measures capture the flatness of the symphyseal surface. We show how we can decrease age-estimation error and improve prior results by combining these outline and surface measures in two multivariate regression models. The presented models produce objective age-estimates that are comparable to current practices with root-mean-square-errors between 13.7 and 16.5 years.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/1556-4029.13439

    View details for PubMedID 28244105

  • Temporal Patterns of Mexican Migrant Genetic Ancestry: Implications for Identification American Anthropologist Hughes, C. E., Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Reineke, R., Clausing, E., Anderson, B. 2017

    View details for DOI 10.1111/aman.12845

  • Geographic substructure in craniometric estimates of admixture for contemporary American populations. American journal of physical anthropology Algee-Hewitt, B. F. 2017; 164 (2): 260–80

    Abstract

    This study investigates heterogeneity in craniometrically-derived estimates of admixture in order to reveal population substructure in a sample of Black, White, Hispanic, and Native American individuals from the FDB. It reports evidence of spatial trends in population-specific patterns of admixture and contextualizes its results in terms of demographic diversity in the United States.The FDB was sampled to capture the population variation within forensic casework, skeletal collections, and the U.S. population-at-large. Individuals were selected for the availability of population identifier, sex, and geographic information. Variation in inferred admixture proportions was evaluated, per population and by sex, for evidence of geographic substructure. Comparative data was sourced from the U.S. Census.This analysis identifies significant associations between the estimated Black, Native American and White component memberships and place of birth and recovery. The sampled populations differ significantly in admixture proportions, in a systematic way. Admixture patterns vary in accordance with the densities and relative proportions of the U.S. census populations.There is considerable variation in admixture estimates, not just between, but notably within, all four of the populations. This substructure can be explained by differences in geography, including regions, divisions, and states. This article's findings agree with census trends and speak broadly to admixture dynamics and ancestral diversity among contemporary Americans. They are also specifically relevant to those cases in the FDB. The presence of subpopulations has implications for cranial research, forensic identification, and studies of biological variation in the United States.

    View details for PubMedID 28636089

  • Geographic Substructure in Craniometric Estimates of Admixture for Contemporary American Populations American Journal of Physical Anthropology Algee-Hewitt, B. F. 2017: 260–80

    Abstract

    This study investigates heterogeneity in craniometrically-derived estimates of admixture in order to reveal population substructure in a sample of Black, White, Hispanic, and Native American individuals from the FDB. It reports evidence of spatial trends in population-specific patterns of admixture and contextualizes its results in terms of demographic diversity in the United States.The FDB was sampled to capture the population variation within forensic casework, skeletal collections, and the U.S. population-at-large. Individuals were selected for the availability of population identifier, sex, and geographic information. Variation in inferred admixture proportions was evaluated, per population and by sex, for evidence of geographic substructure. Comparative data was sourced from the U.S. Census.This analysis identifies significant associations between the estimated Black, Native American and White component memberships and place of birth and recovery. The sampled populations differ significantly in admixture proportions, in a systematic way. Admixture patterns vary in accordance with the densities and relative proportions of the U.S. census populations.There is considerable variation in admixture estimates, not just between, but notably within, all four of the populations. This substructure can be explained by differences in geography, including regions, divisions, and states. This article's findings agree with census trends and speak broadly to admixture dynamics and ancestral diversity among contemporary Americans. They are also specifically relevant to those cases in the FDB. The presence of subpopulations has implications for cranial research, forensic identification, and studies of biological variation in the United States.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ajpa.23267

  • Population inference from contemporary American craniometrics. American journal of physical anthropology Algee-Hewitt, B. F. 2016; 160 (4): 604-624

    Abstract

    This analysis delivers a composite picture of population structure, admixture, ancestry variation, and personal identity in the United States, as observed through the lens of forensic anthropological casework and modern skeletal collections. It tests the applicability of the probabilistic clustering methods commonly used in human population genetics for the analysis of continuous, cranial measurement data, to improve population inference for admixed individuals without prior knowledge of sample origins.The unsupervised model-based clustering methods of finite mixture analysis are used here to reveal latent population structure and generate admixture proportions for craniofacial measurements from the Forensic Anthropology Data Bank (FDB). Craniometric estimates of ancestry are also generated under a three contributor model, sourcing parental reference populations from the Howells Craniometric Dataset. Tests of association are made among the coefficients of cluster memberships and the demographic information documented for each individual in the FDB. Clustering results are contextualized within the framework of conventional approaches to population structure analysis and individual ancestry estimation to discuss method compatibility.The findings reported here for contemporary American craniometrics are in agreement with the expected patterns of intergroup relationships, geographic origins and results from published genetic analyses.Population inference methods that allow for the model-bound estimation of admixture and ancestry proportions from craniometric data not only enable parallel-skeletal and genetic-analyses but they are also shown to be more informative than those methods that perform hard classifications using externally-imposed categories or seek to explain gross variation by low-dimensional projections. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ajpa.22959

    View details for PubMedID 26892285

  • Better together: Thinking anthropologically about genetics AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Goldberg, A. 2016; 160 (4): 557-560

    Abstract

    What are the effects that genetics has had on Anthropological research and how can we think anthropologically about Genetics? Just as genetic data have encouraged new hypotheses about human phenotypic variation, evolutionary history, population interaction, and environmental effects, so too has Anthropology offered to genetic studies a new interpretive locus in its history and perspective. This introduction examines how the fields of Anthropology and Genetics have arrived at a crucial moment at which their interaction requires careful examination and critical reflection. The papers discussed here exemplify how we may engage in such a trans-disciplinary conversation. They speak to the future of thoughtful interaction between genetic and anthropological literature and seek a new integration that embodies the holism of the human biological sciences.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ajpa.23022

    View details for Web of Science ID 000383551200001

    View details for PubMedID 27312265

  • The reality of virtual anthropology: Comparing digitizer and laser scan data collection methods for the quantitative assessment of the cranium. American journal of physical anthropology Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Wheat, A. D. 2016; 160 (1): 148-155

    Abstract

    The use of geometric morphometry to study cranial variation has steadily grown in appeal over the past decade in biological anthropology. Publication trends suggest that the most popular methods for three-dimensional data acquisition involve landmark-based coordinate data collection using a digitizer. Newer laser scan approaches are seeing increasing use, owing to the benefits that densely sampled data offer. While both of these methods have their utility, research that investigates their compatibility is lacking. The purpose of this project is to compare, quantitatively, craniometrics collected with a digitizer against data extracted from laser scans using the same individuals and laboratory conditions.Three-dimensional (x,y,z) coordinates and traditional inter-landmark distances (ILDs) were obtained with a Microscribe digitizer and 360° color models produced from NextEngine laser scans for 38 adult crania representing five cemeteries from the ADBOU skeletal collection in Denmark. Variance-based tests were performed to evaluate the disagreement between data collected with a digitizer and from laser scan models. Consideration was given to differences among landmarks by type, between ILDs calculated from landmark coordinates, and in morphology for the cemetery populations. Further, the reliability of laser scan data collection was assessed by intra-observer error tests.Researchers should be aware of the potential error associated with the use of Types II and III landmarks and the limitations on reliability imposed by object-to-scanner placement.This project reveals how laser scans can provide a valuable digital archive of cranial material that can be reasonably exploited for the "virtual" collection of coordinates and the calculation of ILDs. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ajpa.22932

    View details for PubMedID 26714825

  • Individual Identifiability Predicts Population Identifiability in Forensic Microsatellite Markers. Current biology Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Edge, M. D., Kim, J., Li, J. Z., Rosenberg, N. A. 2016; 26 (7): 935-942

    Abstract

    Highly polymorphic genetic markers with significant potential for distinguishing individual identity are used as a standard tool in forensic testing [1, 2]. At the same time, population-genetic studies have suggested that genetically diverse markers with high individual identifiability also confer information about genetic ancestry [3-6]. The dual influence of polymorphism levels on ancestry inference and forensic desirability suggests that forensically useful marker sets with high levels of individual identifiability might also possess substantial ancestry information. We study a standard forensic marker set-the 13 CODIS loci used in the United States and elsewhere [2, 7-9]-together with 779 additional microsatellites [10], using direct population structure inference to test whether markers with substantial individual identifiability also produce considerable information about ancestry. Despite having been selected for individual identification and not for ancestry inference [11], the CODIS markers generate nontrivial model-based clustering patterns similar to those of other sets of 13 tetranucleotide microsatellites. Although the CODIS markers have relatively low values of the FST divergence statistic, their high heterozygosities produce greater ancestry inference potential than is possessed by less heterozygous marker sets. More generally, we observe that marker sets with greater individual identifiability also tend toward greater population identifiability. We conclude that population identifiability regularly follows as a byproduct of the use of highly polymorphic forensic markers. Our findings have implications for the design of new forensic marker sets and for evaluations of the extent to which individual characteristics beyond identification might be predicted from current and future forensic data.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2016.01.065

    View details for PubMedID 26996508

  • A Computational Method for Age-at-Death Estimation Based on the Surface and Outline Analysis of 3D Laser Scans of the Human Pubic Symphysis Stoyanova, D., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Kim, J., Slice, D. E. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2016: 305
  • An enhanced computational method for age-at-death estimation based on the pubic symphysis using 3D laser scans and thin plate splines AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY Stoyanova, D., Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Slice, D. E. 2015; 158 (3): 431-440

    Abstract

    The pubic symphysis is frequently used to estimate age-at-death from the adult skeleton. Assessment methods require the visual comparison of the bone morphology against age-informative characteristics that represent a series of phases. Age-at-death is then estimated from the age-range previously associated with the chosen phase. While easily executed, the "morphoscopic" process of feature-scoring and bone-to-phase-matching is known to be subjective. Studies of method and practitioner error demonstrate a need for alternative tools to quantify age-progressive change in the pubic symphysis. This article proposes a more objective, quantitative method that analyzes three-dimensional (3D) surface scans of the pubic symphysis using a thin plate spline algorithm (TPS).This algorithm models the bending of a flat plane to approximately match the surface of the bone and minimizes the bending energy required for this transformation. Known age-at-death and bending energy were used to construct a linear model to predict age from observed bending energy. This approach is tested with scans from 44 documented white male skeletons and 12 casts.The results of the surface analysis show a significant association (regression p-value = 0.0002 and coefficient of determination = 0.2270) between the minimum bending energy and age-at-death, with a root mean square error of ≈19 years.This TPS method yields estimates comparable to established methods but offers a fully integrated, objective and quantitative framework of analysis and has potential for use in archaeological and forensic casework. Am J Phys Anthropol 158:431-440, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ajpa.22797

    View details for Web of Science ID 000362953000007

    View details for PubMedID 26173843

  • The Myth of Race. The troubling persistence of an unscientific idea (Book Review) AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY Book Review Authored by: Algee-Hewitt, B. F. 2015; 157 (4): 705-706

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ajpa.22745

    View details for Web of Science ID 000357961600020

  • Modeling Bone Surface Morphology: A Fully Quantitative Method for Age-at-Death Estimation Using the Pubic Symphysis. Journal of forensic sciences Slice, D. E., Algee-Hewitt, B. F. 2015; 60 (4): 835-843

    Abstract

    The pubic symphysis is widely used in age estimation for the adult skeleton. Standard practice requires the visual comparison of surface morphology against criteria representing predefined phases and the estimation of case-specific age from an age range associated with the chosen phase. Known problems of method and observer error necessitate alternative tools to quantify age-related change in pubic morphology. This paper presents an objective, fully quantitative method for estimating age-at-death from the skeleton, which exploits a variance-based score of surface complexity computed from vertices obtained from a scanner sampling the pubic symphysis. For laser scans from 41 modern American male skeletons, this method produces results that are significantly associated with known age-at-death (RMSE = 17.15 years). Chronological age is predicted, therefore, equally well, if not, better, with this robust, objective, and fully quantitative method than with prevailing phase-aging systems. This method contributes to forensic casework by responding to medico-legal expectations for evidence standards.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/1556-4029.12778

    View details for PubMedID 25929827

  • Validation of a Non-destructive DNA Extraction Method Applied to Forensic Samples Steadman, D. W., Pack, F. L., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Hulsey, B. I., Cabana, G. S. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2015: 296
  • Population Structure in the United States: Using Forensic Data Bank Cases to Link Craniometric, Genetic and Social Information Algee-Hewitt, B. B. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2015: 67–68
  • A Multi-Component Analysis of Mexican Variation with Forensic Implications Hughes, C. E., Algee-Hewitt, B. B. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2015: 172
  • The reality of virtual anthropology: testing the utility of computer generated models for the quantitative assessment of the cranium. Wheat, A. D., Algee-Hewitt, B. B. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2013: 290
  • Finding the place of race in anthropological discourse: a digital textual analysis. Algee-Hewitt, M. A., Algee-Hewitt, B. B. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2013: 65
  • Crania, coordinates, and clusters: testing a finite mixture modeling approach for the detection of population structure in modern America using high-dimensional data. Algee-Hewitt, B. B. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2013: 65
  • Assessing damages: Testing the assumptions of a non-destructive protocol for DNA extraction from modern human teeth Bowers, C., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Cabana, G. S. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2013: 86
  • Identifying hominin hybridity in light of taxonomy: testing a Papio model using craniometrics Dautartas, A. M., Algee-Hewitt, B., Driscoll, K., Eleazer, C., Godde, K., Hulsey, B. I., Kramer, A. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2013: 108
  • A structured approach to human population variation: the application of model-based clustering to world-wide craniometric data Algee-Hewitt, B. B. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2012: 82
  • Getting better with age? Testing the utility of Transition Analysis methods for forensic skeletal material of Hispanic origin Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Taylor, R. J. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2011: 74
  • The reality of aging virtually: A test of transition analysis on pelvic laser scans. Shirley, N. R., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Wilson, R. J. WILEY-LISS. 2010: 215–16
  • Getting better with age? Testing the utility of transition analysis methods for forensic skeletal material of Hispanic origin. Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Wilson, R. J. WILEY-LISS. 2010: 54
  • Estimation and Evidence in Forensic Anthropology: Sex and Race AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY Konigsberg, L. W., Algee-Hewitt, B. F., Steadman, D. W. 2009; 139 (1): 77-90

    Abstract

    Forensic anthropology typically uses osteological and/or dental data either to estimate characteristics of unidentified individuals or to serve as evidence in cases where there is a putative identification. In the estimation context, the problem is to describe aspects of an individual that may lead to their eventual identification, whereas in the evidentiary context, the problem is to provide the relative support for the identification. In either context, individual characteristics such as sex and race may be useful. Using a previously published forensic case (Steadman et al. (2006) Am J Phys Anthropol 131:15-26) and a large (N = 3,167) reference sample, we show that the sex of the individual can be reliably estimated using a small set of 11 craniometric variables. The likelihood ratio from sex (assuming a 1:1 sex ratio for the "population at large") is, however, relatively uninformative in "making" the identification. Similarly, the known "race" of the individual is relatively uninformative in "making" the identification, because the individual was recovered from an area where the 2000 US census provides a very homogenous picture of (self-identified) race. Of interest in this analysis is the fact that the individual, who was recovered from Eastern Iowa, classifies very clearly with [Howells 1973. Cranial Variation in Man: A Study by Multivariate Analysis of Patterns of Difference Among Recent Human Populations. Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology; 1989. Skull Shape and the Map: Craniometric Analyses in the Dispersion of Modern Homo. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press]. Easter Islander sample in an analysis with uninformative priors. When the Iowa 2000 Census data on self-reported race are used for informative priors, the individual is clearly identified as "American White." This analysis shows the extreme importance of an informative prior in any forensic application.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20934

    View details for Web of Science ID 000265279700009

    View details for PubMedID 19226642

  • [Inter]Facing age: a test of the ADBOU age estimation software in a forensic context Wilson, R. J., Algee-Hewitt, B. B. WILEY-LISS. 2009: 274
  • The quantitative genetics of frontal curvature: evolutionary implications. Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Carson, E. A. WILEY-LISS. 2009: 76
  • Modeling mortality in the forensic anthropology center's body donation program. Wilson, R. J., Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Jantz, L. WILEY-LISS. 2008: 224
  • Age is subjective: a non-traditional method of age estimation for the adult skeleton Algee-Hewitt, B. B., Weisensee, K. E., Milner, G. R. WILEY-LISS. 2008: 58
  • Demographic trends within the Forensic Anthropology Center's body donation program. Wilson, R. J., Algee-Hewitt, B., Jantz, L. M. WILEY-LISS. 2007: 252