Alphonse Bertillon, French police officer

Alphonse Bertillon, French police officer

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Alphonse Bertillon (1853-1914), French police officer and biometrics pioneer. Bertillon developed a general identification system in 1883 for use by the police. Known as anthropometry, there were ten standard measurements, such as height, width of head, and reach of the right arm. These were then used to identify criminals who gave false names. Anthropometry was eventually replaced by fingerprinting. Bertillon also worked in other areas of forensics, such as ballistics and document examination. Artwork from the 13th volume (first period of 1894) of the French popular science weekly 'La Science Illustree'.

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