Julie Hruby has been honored with one of the highly competitive CompX Faculty Grants from the Neukom Institute. Prof. Hruby will be funded for a project she is pursuing jointly with Mark McPeek of the Biology Department. Titled "Associating Fingerprint Patterns with Age and Sex: A Quantifiable Approach," the project is described as follows:
"Hundreds of thousands of archaeological artifacts from around the world preserve the impressions of ancient fingers and palms. Pottery, ceramic figurines, lost-wax-cast bronzes, plaster, and clay tablets all preserve prints. This project’s goal is to develop the methodology to evaluate the sex and, when possible, the ages of the producers of ancient clay artifacts. Studies of sexual dimorphism in modern fingerprints can be relatively reliable, reaching rates of accuracy comparable to those available from analysis of skeletal material. However, they rely on two-dimensional images of the prints of all ten fingers, and archaeological objects rarely preserve all ten prints. Our hypothesis is that the use of data from the third dimension will allow us to sex and age prints while working with smaller samples. We will use this funding toward the purchase of a very efficient, high-resolution laser 3D scanner that we will use to make the project feasible."