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    Micro-CT Examination of a Human Skull

    One of the most intriguing and historic forensic examinations of a human skull was that of King Richard III’s, the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. King Richard III’s death in the final battle of the Wars of the Roses marked the end of the Middle Ages in England. Richard’s remains had lain undiscovered since being hastily buried in 1485. In 2012, the remains were found and a forensic imaging team from the University of Leicester used micro-CT imaging of Richard’s preserved skull to determine which wounds were fatal and to identify the types of medieval weapons used during the attack. Micro-CT technology offered the highest non-destructive resolution available for the analysis of Richard III’s skull wounds as well as for the study of his skeleton.

    Our examination of an intact human skull echoes some of the famous study mentioned above and demonstrates the use of micro-CT to analyze a large sample volume with our SkyScan 1273 desktop micro-CT.

    Micro-CT Scan of a Human Skull

    Our micro-CT visualization of this human skull anatomical model allows us to demonstrate the expanded sample volume capacity provided in the SkyScan 1273 compared to our other available instruments. As can be seen in Figure 1 above, a standard adult human skull can easily fit within the scanning bounds.

    Figure 2: Clipped view through the central axis of the skull

    As can be seen in Figure 2, the volumetric rendering of the sample can be fully explored and visualized from any position utilizing our CTVox software program. This includes the ability to clip or cut away regions of the sample to highlight internal features. One of the greatest strengths of micro-CT examination of samples is the ability to non-destructively image the internal features of samples without disassembly. CTVox is a useful software application to help highlight the internal structures of samples in a three-dimensional view.


    Micro-CT is particularly useful in non-destructive examination of bone and archeological samples. For this example, since we were not concerned about resolving fine features of the skull, we were able to image the entire skull in less than a half-hour to produce these images. We hope you found this Image of the Month informative. If you have an Image of the Month sample that you would like us to scan, please contact us by calling Seth Hogg at 610-366-7103 or e-mailing

    Scan Specifications


    Human Skull

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    This scan was completed on our high power desktop SkyScan 1273 system at the Micro Photonics Imaging Laboratory in Allentown, PA. Reconstructions were completed using NRecon and visualization of 2D and 3D results were completed using CTVox.


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