• Age estimation;
  • Bone histology;
  • Osteons


This report describes a new histologic method for determination of age at death, the latest in a series of studies that began with Kerley's pioneer presentation in 1965. The study population was collected from 328 documented individuals from an anatomy dissecting room in the United States, from two modern cemeteries in the Dominican Republic, and from autopsies performed in a Chilean hospital. Undecalcified thin sections 1.0 cm wide were made from specimens taken from the femoral midshaft directly opposite the linea aspera. Five 0.886 mm2 fields were located at the periosteal edge and photographed, mainly for purposes of defining the fields and providing a permanent record. Secondary osteons, type II osteons, osteon fragments, resorption spaces, and non-Haversian canals were recorded as number/mm2, and a 100-space grid was used to measure average percent of unremodeled, osteonal, and fragmental bone. Stepwise regression analysis of the measurements produced a series of regression equations for age estimation for females, males, and sexes combined. Most equations have a standard error of estimate of about 10 years, but the coefficients of determination (r2) range from 0.48 to 0.72. In practice, sex-specific equations gave better results than opposite-sex or nonspecific equations, mainly because males and females differed in the pattern of relations between osteons and osteon fragments with advancing age.