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Christopher Maier


Academic Interests:  Physical and Forensic Anthropology, with a particular emphasis of the estimation of ancestry from skeletal remains

Status: Ph.D. Student

MA Thesis Title: Palate Shape and Depth: A Shape Matching and Machine Learning Method for Assessment of Ancestry from Skeletal Remains

Previous Degrees: MA (2013) Anthropology, Louisiana State University; BA (2011) Anthropology, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Contact Information:

Biography: Chris is a second year Ph.D. student in physical anthropology.  His thesis research focused on palate shape as a forensic indicator of ancestry and finding an analytical method for using it that is acceptable under the Daubert standard.  While at LSU, Chris worked in the Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) Lab, under Ms. Mary Manhein.  In that position he gained invaluable experiences with the field recovery of remains, forensic casework, and disaster response.  Currently he remains interested in the estimation of ancestry, but has broadened his scope.  His research now focuses on whether underlying genetic differences between North and South Europe are reflected in the skeletal morphology and whether the differences would be useful in the context of forensic identification.  Although forensics and in particular ancestry estimation are his passion, Chris is interested in all of physical anthropology, having gained experience with dental anthropology and paleoanthropology.  Unrelated to his physical anthropology research, he is interested in one day exploring the anthropology of comic books in the United States.


  • Maier C, Zhang K, Manhein MH, Li X.  Palate Shape and Depth: A Shape-Matching and Machine Learning Method for Estimating Ancestry from Human Skeletal Remains. Journal of Forensic Sciences (submitted)
  • Scott GR, Maier C, Heim KN. Identifying and Recording Key Morphological (Nonmetric) Crown and Root Traits. In: Irish JD, Scott GR, editors. A Companion to Dental Anthropology. Hoboken: Wiley; 2015. (in press)
  • Maier C. Palate Shape and Depth: A Shape Matching and Machine Learning Method for Assessment of Ancestry from Skeletal Remains. Unpublished Thesis. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 2013.
  • Albert AM, Maier C. Epiphyseal union of the cervical vertebral centra as a skeletal age indicator in teenage and young adults. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 2012;58(6):1568-74.
  • Maier C.  Cervical Vertebral Centra Epiphyseal Union as an Age Estimation Method in Teenage and Young Adult Skeletons.  Unpublished Thesis.  Wilmington: University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2010.

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