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The Utility of the Samworth and Gowland Age-at-Death “Look-up” Tables in Forensic Anthropology

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Accurate age-at-death estimates are crucial to forensic anthropologists when onstructing biological profiles aimed at narrowing a missing-persons list and to allow for timely and efficient identification of an unknown victim. The present contribution evaluates the utility of three new age-at-death estimation techniques recently proposed by Samworth and Gowland (2007). Results indicate that, in the samples under study, the Samworth and Gowland estimates from the pubic symphysis and auricular surface perform similar to alternate phase methods. The combined method does not appear to further enhance either the precision or the accuracy of the single pubic symphysis age-at-death estimate. In conclusion, these new methods seem to be more robust to distribution deviations than originally proposed by Samworth and Gowland (2007). They are therefore suitable for immediate and reliable forensic usage in the United States and worthy of further research for their use in North American forensic contexts.
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Keywords: Samworth and Gowland method; age-at-death estimation; auricular surface; forensic anthropology; forensic science; pubic symphysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Anthropology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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