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Estimating Age-at-Death in Adults

Watch Dr Rebecca Gowland discuss several methods to assess age-at-death in adult skeletal remains.

Estimating age-at-death in adults can be more complicated than in non-adults because the changes we are observing are primarily degenerative and there is a much looser correlation between the biological aspects of the skeleton and chronological age. This is partly because of the interplay between an individual’s lifestyle, their environment, and their genetics, creating differences between individuals in terms of the rate at which they age. One way osteologists combat this problem is to use very broad age categories, such as:

  • Young Adult- 20-35 years
  • Middle Adult- 35-50 years
  • Old Adult- 50+ years

In the following sections, we will discuss the following methods in more detail:

  • Pubic Symphysis of the pelvis
  • Auricular Surface of the pelvis
  • Late-fusing Epiphyses and the ribs
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Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology

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