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.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Most current methods for adult skeletal age-at-death estimation are based on American samples comprising individuals of European and African ancestry. Our limited understanding of population variability hampers our efforts to apply these techniques to various skeletal populations around the world, especially in global forensic contexts. Further, documented skeletal samples are rare, limiting our ability to test our techniques. The objective of this paper is to test three pelvic macroscopic methods [(1) Suchey-Brooks; (2) Lovejoy; and (3) Buckberry and Chamberlain] on a documented modern Spanish sample. These methods were selected because they are popular among Spanish anthropologists and because they never have been tested in a Spanish sample. The study sample consists of 80 individuals (55 males and 25 females) of known sex and age from the Valladolid collection. Results indicate that in all three methods, levels of bias and inaccuracy increase with age. The Lovejoy method performs poorly (27%) compared with Suchey-Brooks (71%) and Buckberry and Chamberlain (86%). However, the levels of correlation between phases and chronological ages are low and comparable in the three methods (<0.395). The apparent accuracy of the Suchey-Brooks and Buckberry and Chamberlain methods is largely based on the broad width of the methods' estimated intervals. This study suggests that before systematic application of these three methodologies in Spanish populations, further statistical modeling and research into the covariance of chronological age with morphological change are necessary. Future methods should be developed specific to various world populations and should allow for both precision and flexibility in age estimation.Deutsche Zeitschrift für die Gesamte Gerichtliche Medizin 06/2011; 126(1):145-55. · 2.59 Impact Factor