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

A diachronic comparison of the skeletal fusion rate of the knee joint


Anthropology, Wayne State University

Thursday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

Several studies have been done making note of the order in which the epiphyses and diaphyses in the knee fuse together in juveniles, usually describing the fusion in stages. Stages of fusion each have characteristics associated with them that describe the changes in different ossification centers; these stages can usually be associated with different age sets, so that when studied, they can help point toward an unknown person. With all of the research conducted on the topic of fusion rates, there is a lack of literature comparing recent correlations between chronological age and rate of fusion with standards that set precedence. The purpose of this study is to investigate the idea that modern populations are advancing through these stages at a faster rate than when compared to populations from the early 20th century (which remain the current set of standards used by forensic anthropologists). Radiographs of 13 males and 9 females, between the ages of 10 and 20, were compared with the skeletal remains of 56 males and 27 females, between the ages of 10 and 21, from the Hamann-Todd Collection at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The sexes of each collection were compared with each other and scored using the definitions outlined in O'Conner et al. (2008). While findings of this research suggest a difference in fusion rates through trends seen in both sexes, our tests showed a statistical significance that indicates tibias in male children are fusing at a faster rate than prior records show.

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