Since they are hard to conceal, the study says, noses would work well for identification in covert surveillance.
The researchers say noses have been overlooked in the growing field of biometrics, studies into ways of identifying distinguishing traits in people.
“Noses are prominent facial features and yet their use as a biometric has been largely unexplored,” said the University of Bath’s Dr Adrian Evans.
“Ears have been looked at in detail, eyes have been looked at in terms of iris recognition but the nose has been neglected.”
The researchers used a system called PhotoFace, developed by researchers at the University of the West of England, Bristol and Imperial College, London, for the 3D scans.