A new method to estimate adult age-at-death using the acetabulum


  • Stephanie E. Calce

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada V8N 1M5
    • Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3050, STN CSC, Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 3P5
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Rissech et al. (J Forensic Sci 51 (2006) 213–229) described a method to estimate age-at-death of adult males using seven traits of the fused acetabulum. This study simplifies Rissech et al.'s technique and extends its application to adult females. Rissech et al.'s original scoring method was applied to a sample of 100 known-aged adults, three variables were selected based on stepwise multiple regression, and ages were collapsed into three broad ranges: young adult (17–39 years), middle adult (40–64 years), and old adult (65+ years). The revised method was applied to 249 new known-aged individuals from two other samples. To minimize observer bias, highlight the most critical traits, and encompass more age-related variation, unique digital renderings accompany morphological descriptions of age categories instead of photos. Three statistically significant characteristics highly correlated with age (P < 0.05) are capable of estimating age-at-death with 81% accuracy, both sexes combined. For misidentified individuals the tendency was to underestimate age. Results of both intraobserver error testing and inter-rater reliability demonstrated a moderate to substantial agreement in scoring between observers. When estimating the degree of development of features osteophyte development of the acetabular rim was the most inconsistent between observers. The revised acetabular method shows promise in estimating age for adults, particularly for those over the age of 65 years. Am J Phys Anthropol 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.