"A Fully Computational Framework for Age-at-Death Estimation from the Adult Skeleton: Surface and Outline Analysis of Three-Dimensional Laser Scans of the Pubic Symphysis"

Detelina Stoyanova
Department of Scientific Computing
Florida State University

499 Dirac Science Library


The pubic symphysis remains the preferred, most widely used, skeletal indicator for inferring age-at-death, a particularly challenging characteristic to resolve. Currently, popular methods require the anthropologist to visually inspect the pubic symphysis and to match its shape features to predefined phases with associated age-intervals. Such methodology introduces a large degree of subjectivity and observer-related error. We propose here a new curvature-driven method for age-at-death assessment, offer refinements to two existing surface-modeling techniques and improve our estimation by combining these measures into multivariate regression models. We show how accurate, precise and completely objective age-estimates can be obtained by 3D laser scans and shape-analysis algorithms, and attest to their value for demographic studies of past populations and in forensic casework.

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