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

Sacrococcygeal fusion and its implications with age estimation and sexual dimorphism


Anthropology, Texas State University

April 16, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

Age and sex estimation are increasingly less accurate and precise as age increases due to degenerative changes on the skeleton. Tague (2011) uses sacrococcygeal fusion to estimate age, also to understand how sexual dimorphism affects sacrococcygeal fusion. Results provided by Tague (2011) and Passalacqua (2009) show conflicting conclusions on whether sacrococcygeal fusion is related to age. Both studies lack a large sample size for individuals over 80 years and have considerably less females than males. This research includes a preliminary examination of the methods Tague (2011) used to analyze sex and age correlation of sacrococcygeal elements. An analysis of the pelvic measurements, fusion rates between the sacrum and coccyx and the number of fused coccyx elements were conducted for this study. The individuals analyzed are from the Texas State Donated Skeletal Collection. Fisher’s exact test were used to determine statistical significance.

Preliminary analysis of 30 individuals from a random sample yielded significant (p=.01404) results between male, female and the sacrococcygeal fusion, but no overall significant differences in age. There is also a significant (p=0.0001935) relationship between sacrococcygeal fusion and the number of coccyx elements fused. We did not find any significance between age cohorts; this could be due to the small sample size that was utilized for the preliminary analysis. The final goal of this study is to include more females, as well as individuals from different age cohorts, to analyze if age is also a contributing factor to sacrococcygeal fusion.

Slides/Poster (pdf)