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Alphonse Bertillon

Alphonse Bertillon (1853–1914) was a French police officer and biometrics researcher who applied the anthropological technique of anthropometry to law enforcement, creating an identification system based on physical measurements. It was the first scientific system used by police to identify criminals, and was eventually supplanted by fingerprinting. The Bertillon system consisted of five initial measurements – head length, head breadth, length of middle finger, length of left foot, and length of forearm. Along with these measurements, Bertillon used photography, now known as a mug shot, to complete the record. This image shows both sides of an anthropometric data sheet for Bertillon himself.

Photograph credit: Jebulon

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