Analysis of Age‐at‐Death Estimation Through the Use of Pubic Symphyseal Data*
ABSTRACT The question of whether age parameters derived from an American population will reliably estimate age-at-death for East European skeletal populations is important since the ability to accurately estimate an individual’s age-at-death hinges on what standard is used. A reference sample of identified individuals with known ages-at-death from the regions of the Former Yugoslavia (n = 861) is used to determine the age structure of victims and serves as the prior in the Bayesian analysis. Pubic symphyseal data in the manners of Todd (Am J Phys Anthropol, 3 , 285; Am J Phys Anthropol, 4 , 1) and Suchey-Brooks (Am J Phys Anthropol, 80 , 167) were collected for n = 296 Balkan males and females and for n = 2078 American males and females. An analysis of deviance is calculated using an improvement chi-square to test for population variation in the aging processes of American and East European populations using proportional odds probit regression. When males and females are treated separately, there is a significant association among females and the population (df = 1, chi-square likelihood ratio = 15.071, p = 0.001). New age estimates for Balkan populations are provided and are based on the calculated age distribution from the Gompertz-Makeham hazard analysis and the ages-of-transition. To estimate the age-at-death for an individual, the highest posterior density regions for each symphyseal phase are provided.
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ABSTRACT: The spheno-occipital synchondrosis is a craniofacial growth centre between the occipital and sphenoid bones-its ossification persists into adolescence, which for the skeletal biologist, means it has potential application for estimating subadult age. Based on previous research the timing of spheno-occipital fusion is widely variable between and within populations, with reports of complete fusion in individuals as young as 11 years of age and nonfusion in adults. The aim of this study is, therefore, to examine this structure in a mixed sex sample of Western Australian individuals that developmentally span late childhood to adulthood. The objective is to develop statistically quantified age estimation standards based on scoring the degree of spheno-occipital fusion. The sample comprises multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) scans of 312 individuals (169 male; 143 female) between 5 and 25 years of age. Each MDCT scan is visualized in a standardized sagittal plane using three-dimensional oblique multiplanar reformatting. Fusion status is scored according to a four-stage system. Transition analysis is used to calculate age ranges for each defined stage and determine the mean age for transition between an unfused, fusing and fused status. The maximum likelihood estimates for the transition from open to fusing in the endocranial half is 14.44 years (male) and 11.42 years (female); transition from fusion in the ectocranial half to complete fusion is 16.16 years (male) and 13.62 years (female). This study affirms the potential value of assessing the degree of fusion in the spheno-occipital synchondrosis as an indicator of skeletal age. Am J Phys Anthropol 153:132-138, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.American Journal of Physical Anthropology 01/2014; 153(1):132-8. · 2.48 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Estimating age at death is one of the most important aspects of creating a biological profile. Most adult age estimation methods were developed on North American skeletal collections from the early to mid-20th century, and their applicability to modern populations has been questioned. In 2010, Hartnett used a modern skeletal collection from the Maricopia County Forensic Science Centre to revise the Suchey-Brooks pubic symphysis method and the İşcan et al. fourth rib methods. The current study tests Hartnett's revised methods as well as the original Suchey-Brooks and İşcan et al. methods on a modern sample from the William Bass Skeletal Collection (N = 313, mean age = 58.5, range 19–92). Results show that the Suchey-Brooks and İşcan et al. methods assign individuals to the correct phase 70.8% and 57.5% of the time compared with Hartnett's revised methods at 58.1% and 29.7%, respectively, with correctness scores based on one standard deviation of the mean rather than the entire age range. Accuracy and bias scores are significantly improved for Hartnett's revised pubic symphysis method and marginally better for Hartnett's revised fourth rib method, suggesting that the revised mean ages at death of Hartnett's phases better reflect this modern population. Overall, both Hartnett's revised methods are reliable age estimation methods. For the pubic symphysis, there are significant improvements in accuracy and bias scores, especially for older individuals; however, for the fourth rib, the results are comparable to the original İşcan et al. methods, with some improvement for older individuals.Journal of Forensic Sciences 03/2014; · 1.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Macroscopic assessment of the pubic symphysis is commonly used for age estimation because its surface changes over time. However, postmortem computed tomography (PMCT), a method several forensic medical departments and institutes have begun to adopt, has the potential to simplify the information gathering process from the pelvic bone without requiring soft tissue removal. Some studies have previously evaluated the use of three-dimensional images of the pubic symphysis, but because of variance in the graphics processing among image analysis software packages, certain differences have been observed between these studies. Therefore, in this study, the PMCT findings of 199 subjects of known age and sex were retrospectively reviewed to examine the feasibility of age estimation using planar images of the pubic bones and soft tissue. The coronal and axial sectional images were observed at the center of the symphyseal surface, and the pubic bone length and thickness of the connective tissue of the pubic symphysis were measured at each slice. Our results revealed a significant positive correlation between the length of the pubic bone of the coronal section and age, suggesting that the use of a cutoff value for pubic bone length might be feasible for age estimations. In addition, the thickness of the connective tissue tended to narrow over time. Although the prediction interval range of planar images obtained by PMCT was major and is not usable in practice at this moment, it may still be a useful tool if used in conjunction with other findings obtained by PMCT.Deutsche Zeitschrift für die Gesamte Gerichtliche Medizin 05/2014; · 2.69 Impact Factor