The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)

 The application of GIS to three-dimensional scans of the auricular surface of the ilium to create a new age estimation method using the Hamann-Todd Osteological Collection


Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University

April 16, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

The ability to accurately estimate age at death for adult skeletons has been the focus of bioarchaeologists and forensic anthropologists for decades. Most age estimation methods for adult remains provide age categories that are often too narrow, too broad, or too vague. The goal of this project was to combine 3D scans with GIS tools to produce physical morphology maps of the auricular surface in order to produce quantifiable characteristics for age assessment leading to narrower age ranges.

A NextEngine ™ HD Desktop 3D scanner was used to scan the auricular surface of 200 os coxae from the Hamann-Todd Collection. ScanStudio HD Pro™ software was used to process the scans and produce xyz coordinate points. ESRI ArcMap ™ software v. 10.6.1 was used to create digital elevation models and raster data for analysis. Three features were selected for mapping in ArcMap: exostosis on the retroauricular area, changes to the apical area, and porosity on the auricular surface. Samples were divided into seven groups by 10-year age increments (20-29, 30-39…70-79, 80+) and analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA). The ANOVA tests did not result in statistically significant p values between age groups and the three variables of interest.

Although the results for this method were not statistically significant, the study demonstrates the ability to use 3D scans in ArcMap to evaluate the morphological variations observed on the auricular surface. These findings suggest further testing with higher resolution scanners may capture more detail producing characteristics that can be quantified for age assessment.

This research was funded in part by a Robert C. West Graduate Student Field Research Award from the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University.

Slides/Poster (pdf)