First rib metamorphosis: its possible utility for human age-at-death estimation.

Department of Anatomy, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology (Impact Factor: 2.48). 12/1999; 110(3):303-23. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-8644(199911)110:3<303::AID-AJPA4>3.0.CO;2-O
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Human first ribs demonstrate predictable, sequential changes in shape, size, and texture with increasing age, and thus, can be used as an indicator of age at death. Metamorphosis of the first rib's head, tubercle, and costal face was documented in a cross-sectional sample of preadult and adult first ribs of known age at death from the Hamann-Todd skeletal collection (Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, Ohio). Blind tests of the usefulness of the first rib as an age indicator were conducted, including tabulation of intraobserver and interobserver inaccuracies and biases. First rib age estimates show inaccuracies and biases by decade comparable to those generated by other aging techniques. Indeed, the first rib method is useful as an isolated age indicator. When used in conjunction with other age indicators, the first rib improves the quality of summary age assessments.

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