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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • forensic anthropology;
  • age;
  • femur;
  • histology;
  • remodeling;
  • Dutch

ABSTRACT: This paper presents an uncomplicated and minimally invasive method for age-at-death determination in a contemporary Dutch (West European) population, by modifying the approach of assessment based on the age-related remodeling of bone tissue. In contrast to the usual “osteon count,” a “non-remodeled tissue count” is undertaken. To optimize the method, proper zeroing of the polarization filter set of the microscope is essential. Instructions for setting the filters are given. A sample of femoral shaft segments totaling 162 individuals with ages ranging from 15 to 96 years is analyzed. Subperiosteal quantitative assessments are recorded at the most anterior point of the femoral shaft and also at points 25° to the left and to the right of that point. Interobserver agreement in the assessments shows an acceptable degree of correlation. Bone remodeling with age does not progress in a linear, but in a curvilinear manner. Dependence of predicted age on nonremodeled surface counts in the analyzed areas of the anterior cortex of the femur appears to be significant. A set of regression equations is given. Sex can be ignored in age prediction. The small but statistically significant dependence of predicted age on cadaver length corresponds with the present strong secular increase in stature in the Netherlands. A concise catalogue with micrograph examples for every 10-year period in life is available upon request.