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: 2.71). 01/2013; 127(5). DOI: 10.1007/s00414-013-0818-7
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.
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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.
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ABSTRACT: One of the most common conditions during fetal development is anencephaly, which often involves many identification difficulties in the context of physical anthropology, as it causes severe skull challenges. In this paper, we describe the alterations found in the skulls of two perinatal individuals with anencephaly from the osteological collection of identified infants in the Anthropology Laboratory of the University of Granada, Spain. Both subjects of study are in perfect state of preservation. Despite the severe malformations, all skull bones have been targeted and identified, as the possibility of studying a subject with a complete, articulated, and partially mummified skull; the other was disjointed and well preserved. The skull bones of these two individuals affected with anencephaly have been described in detail, allowing this pathological condition to be identified in skeletonized individuals in archaeological or forensic contexts, in cases where these bones did not have anatomical connection or when these were taphonomically altered.
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ABSTRACT: Due to disparity regarding the age at which skeletal maturation of the spheno-occipital synchondrosis occurs in forensic and biological literature, this study provides recalibrated multislice computed tomography (MSCT) age standards for the Australian (Queensland) population, using a Bayesian statistical approach. The sample comprises retrospective cranial/cervical MSCT scans obtained from 448 males and 416 females aged birth to 20 years from the Skeletal Biology and Forensic Anthropology Research Osteological Database. Fusion status of the synchondrosis was scored using a modified six-stage scoring tier on an MSCT platform, with negligible observer error (κ = 0.911 ± 0.04, intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.994). Bayesian transition analysis indicates that females are most likely to transition to complete fusion at 13.1 years and males at 15.6 years. Posterior densities were derived for each morphological stage, with complete fusion of the synchondrosis attained in all Queensland males over 16.3 years of age and females aged 13.8 years and older. The results demonstrate significant sexual dimorphism in synchondrosis fusion and are suggestive of intrapopulation variation between major geographic regions in Australia. This study contributes to the growing repository of contemporary anthropological standards calibrated for the Queensland milieu to improve the efficacy of the coronial process for medicolegal death investigation. As a stand-alone age indicator, the basicranial synchondrosis may be consulted as an exclusion criterion when determining the age of majority that constitutes 17 years in Queensland forensic practice. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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