Subadult Age-at-Death Estimation From the Human Calcaneus


  • Nicholas V. Passalacqua

    Corresponding author
    1. Michigan State University-Anthropology, East Lansing, MI, USA
    • Correspondence to: Michigan State University-Anthropology, 355 Baker Hall , East Lansing, MI 48823, USA.


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The estimation of age from subadult skeletal remains relies on the measurement of bones, which when unavailable or damaged hampers the ability to generate a reliable age estimate. The goal of this project was to demonstrate two methods for estimating age at death from the developing human calcaneus. These methods are generated from a sample of 32 European American and African American males and females with ages ranging from 1 to 19 years from the Hamann–Todd Collection. The first method was based on linear regression from two standard measurements of the calcaneus (maximum length and middle breadth); the second was based on transition analysis of fusion states of the calcaneal epiphysis. Results suggest that both methods perform well in estimating subadult age at death. Additional testing with larger contemporary samples would likely increase the accuracy of both methods. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.