Analysis of Age‐at‐Death Estimation Through the Use of Pubic Symphyseal Data*

Journal of Forensic Sciences (Impact Factor: 1.24). 04/2008; 53(3):558 - 568. DOI: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2008.00711.x

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 [1920], 285; Am J Phys Anthropol, 4 [1921], 1) and Suchey-Brooks (Am J Phys Anthropol, 80 [1986], 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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