Department of Scientific Computing
Florida State University

"Age-at-death Estimation Using Asian Skeletal Samples: A Bayesian Approach"


Age-at-death estimation using human skeletal remains is one of the crucial parameters to help identify missing persons cases in forensic investigations and to reconstruct mortality profiles for the study of past populations. However, accurate and reliable age-at-death estimation remains one of the most challenging tasks for anthropologists due to error derived from biological, methodological, and statistical sources. While skeletal senescence is governed by complex interplays between genetic and non-genetic factors such as one’s nutritional status, pathology, and activity patterns, ancestral affiliation has been suggested to play a highly impactful role in influencing age-related trait expressions, such that applying one method developed on a particular population is not relevant to another population. Thus, the use of a less robust statistical framework to develop age-at-death estimation methods has further complicated the evaluation of “true” population differences (if any) in skeletal aging process. There are two objectives of this study; (1) to help understand population-specificity in skeletal aging rates between two groups who occupy the same general geographical area, Asia, but have established their own population history since the first settlement in Southeast and East Asia, namely Thailand and Japan; and (2) to quantify the accuracy and precision of the Asian age estimation model that is built based on a robust Bayesian framework.