"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"
Department of Scientific Computing
Florida State University
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.