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Age Estimation from the Human Os Coxa: A Test on a Documented Italian Collection

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Current standards for age at death estimation from the pelvis are based on Americans of European and African ancestry. Our limited understanding of population variability hampers our efforts to apply these techniques to the various skeletal populations around the world, especially in global forensic contexts. However, documented skeletal samples are rare, limiting our ability to test our techniques. This study tested the Suchey-Brooks pubic symphysis aging method and the auricular surface method originally developed by Lovejoy et al. on a large sample (n = 404) of known sex and age from the Sassari Collection, housed at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Bologna, Italy. The results indicate that for both methods, bias and inaccuracy increased with age and actual age tended to be underestimated over the age of 40. The auricular surface method performed slightly better, exhibiting slightly lower levels of bias and inaccuracy, especially for males.
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Keywords: auricular surface; forensic anthropology; forensic science; pubic symphysis; skeletal age estimation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, California State University, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-6106. 2: Laboratory of Bioarchaeology and Forensic Osteology, Department of Experimental Evolutionary Biology, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy.

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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