I am excited to announce the official launch of the 3D MMS Initiative!

This open-access web platform is a pedagogical instrument for osteologists learning skeletal human variation. The tool focuses on cranial and postcranial variations that are not well represented in digital archives. Currently, there are limited teaching resources available online, limiting accessibility to learning protocols in forensic anthropology. This, in part, is due to the sensitive nature and ethical concerns of sharing 3D models of human skeletal material.

For this project, I created 3D scans of each cranial and postcranial MMS variation from the Michigan State University Forensic Anthropology Lab (MSUFAL) Donated Teaching Collection. The 3D MMS Initiative allows for in-depth method instruction through a new, interactive medium. This website allows practitioners to visualize the traits alongside the previously conceived trait definitions. This tool can be implemented into online forensic anthropology courses, a difficult feat due to the hands-on nature of the field, allowing for practical applications of theory and method essential to understanding the nuances of osteology and the human variation across global populations. Since these variations are used to help identify unknown individuals in forensic cases, they are extremely important and should be used in conjunction with one another, not individually tied to specific populations. So, when teaching macromorphoscopic traits, the first step is to solely identify the different variations.

The 3D MMS platform includes multiple sections. The landing page, provides a brief introduction to the project and an interactive skeleton image. From the landing page, users can select individual bones on the interactive image or choose from the “Bones” dropdown menu. The “About” page details about the 3D models for this project, including the donation forms template used for the MSUFALDonated Teaching Collection. This page also includes the acknowledgments and partners for this project. Another section of this website, the “References” page, includes links to current macromorphoscopic programs as well as an interactive timeline of MMS-related literature since 2009.

Finally, I included a contact page for users to get in touch! Over the summer, I will work to expand the website adding an interactive visual network of references related to MMS research, so please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions. Overall, I absolutely loved my time working as a CHI Fellow and am extremely grateful for the experience!

Micayla Spiros | 2020-2021 CHI Grad Fellow