Age estimation of immature human skeletal remains using the post-natal development of the occipital bone.

Departamento de Medicina Legal e Ciências Forenses, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade do Porto, 4200-319, Porto, Portugal, .
Deutsche Zeitschrift für die Gesamte Gerichtliche Medizin (Impact Factor: 2.69). 01/2013; DOI: 10.1007/s00414-013-0818-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Whenever age cannot be estimated from dental formation in immature human skeletal remains, other methods are required. In the post-natal period, development of the skeleton provides alternative age indicators, namely, those associated with skeletal maturity of the cranium. This study wishes to document the age at which the various ossification centres in the occipital bone fuse and provide readily available developmental probabilistic information for use in age estimation. A sample of 64 identified immature skeletons between birth and 8 years of age from the Lisbon collection was used (females = 29, males = 35). Results show that fusion occurs first in the posterior intra-occipital synchondrosis and between the jugular and condylar limbs of the lateral occipital to form the hypoglossal canal (1-4 years), followed by the anterior intra-occipital (3-7 years). Fusion of the post-natal occipital does not show differences in timing between males and females. Relative to other published sources, this study documents first and last ages of fusion of several ossification centres and the posterior probabilities of age given a certain stage of fusion. Given the least amount of overlap in stages of fusion, the closure of the hypoglossal canal provides the narrowest estimated age with the highest probability of age.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Little is known about fusion times of the primary and secondary centers of ossification in the sacrum, particularly from dry bone observations. In this study, the timing of union of these centers was studied in a sample of modern Portuguese skeletons (90 females and 101 males) between the ages of 0 and 30 years, taken from the Lisbon documented skeletal collection. A three-stage scheme was used to assess fusion status between ossification centers as unfused, partially fused and completely fused. Posterior probability tables of age, given a certain stage of fusion, were calculated for most anatomical locations studied using both reference and uniform priors. Partial union of primary centers of ossification was observed from 1 to 8 years of age and partial union of secondary centers of ossification was observed from 15 to 21 years of age. The first primary centers of ossification to complete fusion are the neural arch with the centrum of the fifth sacral vertebrae and the last are the costal element with the centrum of the first sacral vertebra. The annular and sacroiliac epiphyses are the first, among the secondary centers of ossification observed, to complete fusion, after which the lateral margin fuses. This study offers information on timing of fusion of diverse locations in the developing sacrum useful for age estimation of complete or fragmented immature human skeletal remains and fills an important gap in the literature, by adding to previously published times of fusion of primary and secondary ossification centers in this sample. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    American Journal of Physical Anthropology 11/2013; · 2.51 Impact Factor