Forensic facial reconstruction (or forensic facial approximation) is the process of recreating the face of an individual (whose identity is often not known) from their skeletal remains through an amalgamation of artistry, forensic science, anthropology, osteology, and anatomy. It is easily the most subjective—as well as one of the most controversial—techniques in the field of forensic anthropology. Despite this controversy, facial reconstruction has proved successful frequently enough that research and methodological developments continue to be advanced.
In addition to remains involved in criminal investigations, facial reconstructions are created for remains believed to be of historical value and for remains of prehistoric hominids and humans.
Betty Pat. Gatliff, the artist that created this exhibit, is a retired medical illustrator who turned her interests to developing and teaching forensic sculpture, in addition to practicing the art in her freelance studio, SKULLpture in Norman, Oklahoma. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, an Emeritus Member of the Association of Medical Illustrators, and an Associate Member of the International Association for Identification. In Karen T. Taylor's Forensic Art and Illustration, Gatliff collaborated on Chapters 11 and 13. She is internationally recognized for her expertise in this specialized field; the Wall Street Journal has called her "a forensic legend."