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I do think it’s very interesting how technology is advancing in this aspect, creating a great development from study and knowledge gain. I think where we run into problems is two things. The ethical aspect of copying other humans bones, and being able to have clearance to get them. I believe a way to go about it is if it is approved by the person before death, like an organ donor. This could create more study opportunities and more chances for developing countries.
My colleagues and I are preparing to release to the research public a very large, documented, de-identified database of whole body CT scans. These scans derive from medicolegal investigation. We expect that this new research resource, due to its size (over 15,000 individuals represented) and its documentation (up to 69 metadata variables will be available) will be transformative in a number of fields, especially forensic anthropology and forensic pathology. However, we also think it will have application in human biology, human evolution, and public health. Of course, we carefully considered carefully many of the concerns discussed in this article, and have worked hard to meet ethical and legal standards well beyond the basics required. I believe we came up with satisfactory, ethical approaches that work for our dataset. We have not tried in any way to develop a universal solution for the ethical sharing of images of human remains – something suggested in this article. The database will be available to bona fide researchers at mmdid.unm.edu, as soon as the beginning of next month.