The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

A comparison of gross morphology and histomorphometric age-at-death estimation techniques on a known forensic sample


1Forensic Anthropology Center, Texas State University - San Marcos, 2Forensic Anthropology Unit, Office of Chief Medical Examiner New York, NY

Thursday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

A comparison of macroscopic and microscopic age related changes to the skeleton could enhance the understanding of the ageing process and improve age-at-death estimation. This study evaluates the utility of multifactorial age estimation methods by comparing macro- and microscopic analyses with the goal of producing more accurate and precise age-at-death estimates.

Gross morphology and histomorphometry age estimation methods were applied to a sample of known individuals (n=40) from a modern forensic population. The pubic symphyses, sternal 4th rib ends, and 6th rib midshafts were collected and analyzed. In addition, three multifactorial ageing methods incorporating both gross morphology and histomorphometry data were tested on the sample: 1) FAU technique, 2) Statistical average, 3) Adjusted Stout et al. (1994). The accuracy, inaccuracy, and bias values were compared for each ageing method.

The results of this study indicate that both the gross morphology and histomorphometry methods performed well; however, method accuracies ranged from 60-95%. The results also show that multifactorial methods incorporating histomorphometric and gross morphology data improve the final age-at-death estimates by lowering the inaccuracy and bias values. Specifically, incorporating the pubic symphysis as an indicator of relative age (as per the FAU technique) improves inaccuracy and bias for histomorphometric age-at-death estimates. This analysis promotes future development of multifactorial age estimation methods that incorporate both macro- and microscopic examination of bone for use in forensic and bioarchaeological contexts.

comments powered by Disqus