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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 third 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 combining the information available from the cranium and the dentition in the forensic estimation of ancestry.  As methods in forensic anthropology are subjected to more rigorous standards, the expansion and refinement of methods is always needed.  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.


  • Albert, A.M. and C.A. Maier, 2011:  Cervical vertebral epiphyseal union as an age estimation method in teenage and young adult skeletons. Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, February 21-26.
  • Albert, A. M. and C. Maier. Epiphyseal Union of the Cervical Vertebral Centra: Its Relationship to Skeletal Age and Maturation of Thoracic Vertebral Centra. J Forensic Sci. 2013; 58 (6) 1568-1574.
  • Heim, K., Maier, C., Scott, G., Pilloud, M. 2015: Betwixt and Between: Central Asians and the Eurodont-SInodont Dental Complexes. Poster presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. St. Louis, Missouri, March 25-29.
  • Maier, C.A., Zhang, K. Manhein, M.H., Li, X. Palate Shape and Depth: A Shape-Matching and Machine Learning Method for Estimating Ancestry from Human Skeletal Remains. J Forensic Sci. 2015; 60 (5) (in press).
  • Maier, C.A., Zhang, K., Manhein, M.H., Li, X., 2014: Palate Shape and Depth: A Shape-Matching and Machine-Learning Method for Estimating Ancestry from Skeletal Remains.  Poster presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 66th Annual Scientific Meeting, Seattle, Washington, February 17-22.
  • Scott, G.R., Maier, C.A., and Heim, K.N. 2015. Identifying and Recording Key Morphological (Nonmetric) Crown and Root Traits. In: Irish, J.D., and Scott, G.R., editors. A Companion to Dental Anthropology. Hoboken: Wiley. (in press)
  • Scott, G., Schomberg, R., Maier, C., Heim, K., and Everson, P. 2014: The dental morphology of Yupik-speaking Eskimos in a broader Arctic and New World context. Poster presented at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Calgary, Alberta, April 8-12.
  • Palate Shape and Depth: Ancestry Estimation in the Digital Age. Invited by UNR Anthropology Club. March 5, 2014.

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