The Use of Vertebral Osteoarthritis and Osteophytosis in Age Estimation


  • Presented as an oral presentation at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 21–26, 2011, in Chicago, IL.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Ginesse A. Listi, Ph.D.
LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology
227 Howe-Russell Building
Baton Rouge, LA 70803


Abstract:  Previous research on age and vertebral degenerative change has focused on osteophytosis. The present study expands this research by examining the association between osteoarthritis and osteophytosis and by assessing their relationship to age. Researchers scored the bodies and facets in 104 individuals. Statistical analyses assessed relationships between age and degenerative change for the bodies and facets, both separately and combined, for all vertebrae collectively, and for subcategories of vertebral types. Separate analyses were conducted which included only regions that experience heavier stress loads. Results indicate that osteophytosis and osteoarthritis are not associated with each other for all subcategories of vertebrae. Also, the inclusion of osteoarthritis does not enhance the relationship between age and degenerative change, nor does limiting analyses to areas of heaver stress. Finally, although both conditions are significantly correlated with age, the relationship is not strong enough to yield predictive power for establishing age beyond a general estimate.