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Age Estimation in the Living: Osteology and Age Estimation

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Abstract

Age can be estimated from the skeleton in both deceased and living individuals. During development age is typically estimated via assessment of the appearance, changing morphology, and fusion of ossification centers. These events have a very well-documented developmental chronology and are assessed via a combination of morphological and metric techniques. Once adulthood is reached age estimation becomes more challenging, but is still possible from a variety of joint areas throughout the skeleton including the pubic symphysis, auricular surface, cranial sutures, and sternal rib ends. This form of age assessment relies on the degenerative changes that occur at these areas of the skeleton and is less precise than age estimation in the juvenile. This chapter will consider the primary methods of age assessment from the juvenile and adult skeleton. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.