Age estimation in a sub-adult Western Australian population based on the analysis of the pelvic girdle and proximal femur

Siobhan Sullivan, Ambika Flavel, Daniel Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The accurate and precise estimation of skeletal age by a forensic anthropologist is both a professional and judicial requirement. When unknown skeletal remains are referred to the anthropologist, the estimation of the requisite biological attributes (e.g., age and sex) should accordingly be based on the application of population-specific standards (statistical data). Deviations from the latter practice may result in reduced accuracy and compromised identification. Towards informing appropriate forensic practice, the aim of the present study is to develop statistically quantified age estimation models for a contemporary sub-adult Western Australian population based on the timing of fusion in the os coxa and proximal femur. The study sample comprises 562 known age and sex MDCT scans (292 male, 270 female) representing contemporary Western Australian individuals birth through 30 years of age. Scans are viewed in multi-planar reconstructed (MPR) and/or three-dimensionally reconstructed images using OsiriX®. Fusion status is scored according to a three-stage system across a total of nine sites in the proximal femur and os coxae. Observer accordance, bilateral asymmetry and sex-specific variation in fusion timing are statistically quantified. Polynomial regression is used to formulate age prediction models; transition analysis is used to calculate age ranges and determine the mean age for transition between an unfused, fusing and fused status. Observer accordance in stage assignation is acceptable (ϰ = 0.79) and there is no significant bilateral variation in fusion timing. It was found that the mean age of commencement of fusion is significantly earlier (∼2 years) in females. The accuracy (SEE) of the polynomial models ranges from ±3.29 to ±3.80 years and the transition analysis shows that fusion of the iliac crest is delayed in comparison to other attributes of os coxa and proximal femur. Results of the present study confirm that the pelvic girdle and proximal femur can be used to accurately estimate chronological age in the study population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185.e1-185.e10
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


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