Age Estimation from the Human Os Coxa: A Test on a Documented Italian Collection*

Authors

  • Samantha M. Hens Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Anthropology, California State University, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-6106.
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  • Elisa Rastelli Ph.D.,

    1. Laboratory of Bioarchaeology and Forensic Osteology, Department of Experimental Evolutionary Biology, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy.
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  • Giovanna Belcastro Ph.D.

    1. Laboratory of Bioarchaeology and Forensic Osteology, Department of Experimental Evolutionary Biology, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy.
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  • *

    The project was funded by a research grant to Samantha M. Hens from the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, California State University, Sacramento.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Samantha M. Hens, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
California State University
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95891-6106
E-mail: shens@csus.edu

Abstract

Abstract:  Current standards for age at death estimation from the pelvis are based on Americans of European and African ancestry. Our limited understanding of population variability hampers our efforts to apply these techniques to the various skeletal populations around the world, especially in global forensic contexts. However, documented skeletal samples are rare, limiting our ability to test our techniques. This study tested the Suchey-Brooks pubic symphysis aging method and the auricular surface method originally developed by Lovejoy et al. on a large sample (n = 404) of known sex and age from the Sassari Collection, housed at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Bologna, Italy. The results indicate that for both methods, bias and inaccuracy increased with age and actual age tended to be underestimated over the age of 40. The auricular surface method performed slightly better, exhibiting slightly lower levels of bias and inaccuracy, especially for males.

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