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Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

CRANID by Richard Wright

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CRANID by Richard Wright,

The purpose of CRANID is to assess a skull's probable biological ancestry, in the  broad geographical sense of the 'ethnographic present'.

The package allows you to use multivariate methods of linear discriminant analysis and nearest neighbour discriminant analysis with 29 measurements on an individual skull. It assumes that the individual skull is within the range of variation of modern Homo sapiens. The skulls will be classified after automated comparison with 74 samples that include 3,163 skulls from around the world.

Essentially CRANID is evaluating morphological similarity and dissimilarity by metric means. From these morphological results, and because of the high correlation between cranial morphology and geographical origin, probable ancestry can be inferred.

It has been used in the archaeological, forensic, and repatriation fields.

CRANID can be downloaded as a self-extracting EXE file from:

Create a new folder, for example C:\CRANID. Copy the downloaded file (current version is Cr6bInd.exe) to this folder. Double click on the file to unpack it.

The program is freeware, but with some minor copyrighted restrictions explained in the notes.

The opening pages of the manual tell you what can be done with the software. It also has detailed definitions of the 29 measurements, together with illustrations.

CRANID is sensitive to errors of measurement. Users should first train themselves by emulating some 'agreed' measurements on the Bone Clones Inc cast BC-110. Instructions on how to use this cast are included in the manual. If you just want to read the manual then visit:

Using the BC-110 cast for training is a basic method of quality control, which ensures that the user of CRANID understands the 29 measurements taken from those defined by the late W.W. Howells.

The program is compiled to run under Windows 32 and 64 bit. There is no MacIntosh version as such, but the author has been told that CRANID works on a Mac running Windows via a Boot Camp partition, or using 'Parallels Desktop 7'. He has not personally verified this.

The author suggests that you send him your email address, so that he can put you on a list for information about updates.


Edited by: kochertj on 06/02/2016 - 16:19
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Update from Richard Wright:


The CRANID manual now has improved descriptions for measuring Occipital subtense (OCS) and improved illustrations for Bijugal breadth (JUB).

The software is unchanged.

You can download the complete package (with the improved manual) by visiting the link already posted above, but repeated here for your convenience.

If you just want the improved manual then visit


Richard Wright