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The possibility of identifying people by the shape of their outer ear was first discovered by the French criminologist Bertillon, and refined by the American police officer Iannarelli, who proposed a first ear recognition system based on only seven features. The detailed structure of the ear is not only unique, but also permanent, as the appearance of the ear does not change over the course of a human life. Additionally, the acquisition of ear images does not necessarily require a person's cooperation but is nevertheless considered to be non-intrusive by most people. Owing to these qualities, the interest in ear recognition systems has grown significantly in recent years. In this survey, the authors categorise and summarise approaches to ear detection and recognition in 2D and 3D images. Then, they provide an outlook over possible future research in the field of ear recognition, in the context of smart surveillance and forensic image analysis, which they consider to be the most important application of ear recognition characteristic in the near future.