Forensic Bone Analysis

5th January 2014

 

Case Context

“A man was walking his dogs along a beach near Sydney after a week of heavy storms. Both of his dogs were attracted to something on the edge of the sandhill’s at the back of the beach and refused to come when he called. Upon investigating he found that they were playing with some bones that looked to him as though they may be human. He left the bones where they were found and went to telephone the police.

Upon investigation the police found that the bones were indeed human, that the remains of more than one person were present, and began an investigation into the circumstances behind their location at the beach. At the outset it was believed that these bones were probably linked to a series of homicides in the inner city 10 years before they were discovered. In particular a man and women, both in their early 20’s, were thought to have been shot and buried in the southern beaches in 1981 after an altercation over money. Photographs of the deceased were not available but both were reported as being of slender build, below average height and of Caucasian background.

The police closed off the area of beach where the bones were found and began a thorough search for more human remains. From the dunes to the low tide mark the surface of the beach was searched, prior to excavation and sieving of sand down to more than 1 metre in depth. More human remains were discovered and at the end of the investigation one cranium,one facial skeleton, two mandibles, three innominates (os coxae), and two ulna were recovered. One of the mandibles and the cranium have substantial dental restorative work (Figures 1 and 2). The size and morphology of two of the innominates indicated that they were clearly from the same individual. A variety of artifacts were also recovered in the excavation, with the majority (sun screen bottles, rubber thongs and syringes) being the type of refuse common on beaches around Sydney. However, while the excavation was taking place the edge of prehistoric Aboriginal shell midden was also encountered which resulted in the involvement of the regional archaeologist for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and representatives from the local Aboriginal community. Both archaeologists and the Aboriginal community suspected that the human remains were of prehistoric Aboriginal origin and not recent homicide victims.

At the request of the Aboriginal community the National Parks and Wildlife Service you were asked to investigate the site in more detail, as well as provide another assessment of the human skeletal materials. You were subsequently contracted to write a report on the human remains. The following bones were sent to you: one skull, two mandibles and two ulnae. The innominates were not available to you but there was no doubt that according to the metrical and morphological characters described in Phenice (1969) and Krogman and Iscan (1986) that one was clearly male.” (Brown, 2013)

  

Introduction

Analysis of bone still commonly poses problems to both law enforcement and archaeologists alike and as such the role of a forensic anthropologists is to, commonly,  work in conjunction with forensic pathologists, osteologists, odontologists, police investigators and other specialists to identify a decedent, mode of death, and/or the postmortem interval. The study of a corpse’s bones can generally provide indication of a number major aspects of an individual’s life. Usually of primary concern is age, sex, race, stature and evidence of trauma or disease. Bones may however be used to determine numerous other aspects relating to culture and environmental factors for. This report focuses along the lines of the former, being that a number of bones were discovered among sandy soil and suspected of being linked to a series of homicides in the inner city 10 years earlier. Since notes on human remains often form part of a larger excavation report, no site description is normally required but would be covered sufficiently by other sections.

 

  1. Human Cranium
    • Age at Death
Method Age Range Associated Error
Tooth eruption >25  
Occlusal surfaces 24-30  
Spheno-occiptal synchondrosis >20-25 95% accuracy
Lateral-Anterior (Meindl) 21-42 +-8.3
Lateral-Anterior (Ubelaker) 19-44  
Vault (Meindl) 23-45 +-7.8
Vault (Ubelaker) 33-60  
Palatal suture closure 20-34  

Table 1.1: Data concerning the age at death taken from report A – Appendix 1

31

Figure 1.1: Graphical representation of the data contained in table 1.1

 

Based on material contained in report A, figure 1.1, a probable age at death of 30-33 years of age could be concluded for this individual. Associated errors associated with Meindl’s lateral-interior and vault scoring methods have not been taken into account since the estimate sits approximately midway between the represented age ranges.

 

  • Attribution of Sex

This skull is relatively large and robust in its features supporting a male appearance. The mastoid processes are of medium size, while not particularly female, remain in conclusive. Supraorbital development is medium, and the frontal bone is sloped (male). The supraorbital margin although quite sharp and the chin is exhibiting a pointed appearance, both typically female orientated traits, neither are thought to be defining enough alone to be a conclusive defining feature. It is also important to take into account further indications of ethnic origin assessed later. It is however considered likely to be male.

 

  • Krogman (1962) method of Attribution of Sex using Cranial Anthroposcopy
Traits Males Females
Size Large and rugged Small and smooth
Mastoid Medium to Large, projecting Small to medium no projecting
Brow ridges Large Small, none
Frontal Slanted High, rounded
Nuchal area Rugged with hook Smooth, hook uncommon
Supra-orbital margin rounded Sharp
total 5 1

Table 1.2: Characteristics of Male and Female skulls (Krogman 1962 and France 1998); (cited Bayer 2011:159)

 

Using this method the most likely determination for this cranium would be male

 

1.2.2 Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994) method of Attribution of Sex using Cranial

Anthroposcopy

Location Score (1 most feminine to 5 most masculine)
Nuchal Crest         x
Mastoid Process     x    
Supra-orbital Margin   x      
Supra-orbital Ridge / Glabella     x    

Table 1.3: Characteristics of Male and Female skulls (Buikstra and Ubelaker 1994); (cited Bayer 2011:162)

 

Using this method the results remain indeterminate. It is however noted, with the attribution of a scoring method, that it would be more likely male than female

 

1.2.3 Walkers Logistic Discriminant Functions for predicting Sex of Skulls (Bayer 2011:163)

Arithmetic

Function 1 –            Y=7.434-(1.568*Glabella)-(1.459*Mastoid)

=7.434-(1.568*3)-(1.459*3)

-1.647

Male

Function 6 –               Y=5.329-(0.7*Nuchal)-(1.559*Mastoid)

=5.329-(0.7*5)-(1.559*3)

-2.848

Male

 

The section point in Walkers Logistic Discrepant Function is 0. (Male<section point (0) < female). Since in both cases the score is below the section point (0) it can be concluded as male.

 

1.2.4 Attribution of Sex using Cranial Metrics: Discriminant Function dependent on race

Variable Measurement Standard coefficients
Bi-parietal breadth 144 0.11628
Glabella-opisthocranion 195 0.10905
Basion-bregma 146 0.37333
Basion-prosthion 104 0.47483
Maximum supraorbital breadth 108 -0.19215
Bi-zygion 88 0.79462
Alveolar breadth 61 -0.11654
Mastoid depth 34 0.12216

Table 1.4: Standardized canonical discriminant function coefficients developed from the known sex European crania. (Brown 2013:127)  Section point 208.4

 

Arithmetic

=(Bi-parietal breadth*0.11628)+( Glabella-opisthocranion*0.10905)+( Basion-bregma*0.37333) +( Basion-prosthion*0.47483)+( Maximum supraorbital breadth *-0.19215)+( Bi-zygion*0.79462) +( Alveolar breadth*-0.11654)+( Mastoid depth*0.12216)

=(144*0.11628)+(195*0.10905)+(146*0.37333)+(104*0.47483)+(108*-0.19215)+(128*0.79462)+(61*-0.11654)+(34*0.12216)

219.90123

 

 33   32

Figure 1.2: (Left)Distribution of discriminant function scores for European crania of known sex (Brown 2013:125).(Right) Application of discriminant functions developed from North American Europeans to known sex crania from Spitalfields, London (Brown 2013:129).

 

The occurrence of this result on the right of the section point (208.4) would indicate that the individual was likely a male

 

1.2.5 Discriminant Function Analysis of sex of case specimen

Variable Measurement Formula Weight
Cranial length 195 1.236
Cranial breadth 144 -1.000
Mastoid Length 34 1.528
Bi-zygomatic breadth 128 3.291
Section point 536.93 TOTAL: 570.22

Table 1.5: Measurement and coefficients (Giles 1970 cited Wienker 1984) Section Point 536.93

 

Arithmetic

=( Cranial length*1.236)+( Cranial breadth*-1.000)+( Mastoid Length*1.528)+( Bi-zygomatic breadth*3.291)

=(195*1.236)+(144*-1.000)+(34*1.528)+(128*3.291)

570.22

 

Situated on the right of (greater than) the section point (female < section point, < male) indicates that this cranium likely belonged to a male

Variable Measurement
Aboriginal Male Aboriginal Female East Asian Male East Asian Female Caucasian Male Caucasian Female Actual
  Range Mean Range Mean Range Mean Range Mean Range Mean Range Mean  
Max bi-parietal breadth 122-144 130.59 115-139 126.93 126-155 137.99 127-146 136.07 134-154 142.54 123-152 136.7 144
Glabella-opisthocranion 178-202 189.61 169-192 180.61 162-197 178.67 162-186 172.74 166-201 182.91 163-190 177.21 195
Basion-bregma

 

121-143 132.05 118-137 125.76 129-155 138.73 127-141 134.85 125-151 135.3 111-139 127.54 146
Basion-prosthion

 

95-116 106.15 83-110 100.21 85-109 96.42 89-104 95.95 85-108 96.48 80-102 89.62 104
Maximum supraorbital breadth 101-116 109.17 94-115 104.88 95-116 103.59 90-111 98.74 95-113 105.06 87-110 99.04 108
Bi-zygomaxillare

 

86-108 95.46 81-101 91.55 87-111 98.63 86-105 94.07 81-103 90.99 73-98 85.37 88
Bi-zygion

 

124-146 135.91 118-138 126.66 123-146 132.61 111-134 122.56 122-139 131.58 107-136 120.73 128
Nasion-prosthion

 

62-78 69.75 56-74 65.2 63-86 73.54 60-75 68.62 64-84 72.27 48-76 66.18 70
Alveolar length

 

54-73 63.2 53-67 59 45-61 52.32 48-57 51.72 47-61 53.73 45-57 50.54 63
Alveolar breadth at M2 61-77 68.32 58-70 63.53 56-72 64.55 55-71 61.54 50-67 58.69 46-64 55.79 (61)
Mastoid Depth

 

34
Nasion-nasospinale

 

44-57 50.64 40-54 47.57 47-63 54.53 45-56 50.21 47-56 51.65 44-63 49.55 55
Nasal-breadth

 

24-34 27.69 23-33 26.08 21-34 25.69 22-33 25.76 21.5-27 23.56 19-26 22.09 24
Oribital height

 

23-40 33.41 27-38 32.41 28-40 34.95 30-40 33.21 32-38 34.86 30-40 35.2 36
Orbital breadth

 

40-48 44.33 38-47 42.24 37-46 40.30 35.5-43 38.63 38-44 40.56 35-42 38.87 44

Table 1.6: Tabulation of cranial ranges and mean values for Aboriginal, East Asian and Caucasian males and females. Summarized from Brown 2013

 

In considering both the measurement ranges and the mean measurements it would appear that the cranium most likely belonged to a male.

 

  • Ethnic Origin

Referring to table 1.6 it is also determinable that, while highly probable, this individual was of European decent there remains a chance that he may have been East Asian

 

  • Attribution of Ancestry using Cranial Anthroposcopy

There are a number of factors that can be easily observed with this cranium that give some indication toward the attribution of ancestry these being (i)  A rounded contour of the cranial vault (anterior view) (ii) Mild to moderate prominence of the superciliary ridges (iii) An external occipital protuberance that is conical or hooked (iv) Extensive cranial sutures (v) A sharp lower lateral orbit margin (on the zygomatic bone) (vi) A narrow and high bridge of the nose (v) Depressed nasofrontal sutures (vi) A prominent nasal spine (vii)Sharp lower margin of the nasal spine (viii) Carabelli’s Cusps (on the mesiolingual surface of maxillary molars – difficult to be certain). These traits all indicate a likelihood of the individual being of European decent. Lateral contours of the cranium are suggestive of a non-Australian (Hiscock 2008:96)

 

Attribution of Ancestor
Nose Root High, Narrow
  Bridge High
  Spine Pronounced
  Lower Border sharp (sill)
  Width narrow
Face Profile straight
  Shape narrow
  Eye orbits Angular
  Lower eye border receding or no  projection
Vault Brow ridges Medium to heavy
  Muscle marks
  Vault sutures complex
  Postbregma Flat or straight
Jaws and teeth Jaws
  Palatal shape parabolic
  Upper incisors spatulate

Table 1.7: Combined information from Krogman (1962), Brues (1977) and Rhine (1990b); (cited Byers 2011:135)

 

Using this method the best probably result remains that the individual was Caucasian

 

  • Attribution of ancestry using cranial metrics: Interorbital indexes (Byers 2011b:117)
Variable Measurement
Breadths  
Maxillofrontal 19.1
Midorbital 56.4
Alpha cord 29.8
Subtenses
Naso-maxillofrontal 13.4
Naso-zygoorbital 36
Naso-alpha 19.4

Table 1.8: Measurements of specific values for index calculations

 

Arithmetic

Maxillofrontal Index: Section point 40

Naso-maxillo frontal subtense / Maxillofrontal breadth x 100 = Maxillofrontal index

13.4 / 19.1 x 100

= 70.157068

Zygoorbital Index: Section point 38

Naso-zygoorbital / midorbital breadth x 100 = Zygoorbital Index

36 / 56.4 x 100

= 63.829787

Alpha Index: Section point 60

Naso-alpha subtense / Alpha cord x 100 = Alpha Index

19.4 / 29.8 x 100

= 65.100671

 

In all instances values greater that the section point are indicative of an individual of European decent.

 

1.3.3 Attribution of ancestry using Cranial Metrics: Discriminant Functions

Location Specimen dimensions
Maximum biparietal breadth 144
Glabella-opisthocranion 195
Basion-bregma 146
Basion-prosthion 104
Maximum supraorbital breadth 108
Bi-zygomaxillare 88
Alveolar length 63

Table 1.9: Tabulation of specimen dimensions (provided Brown 2013)

34

Figure 1.2: Standardized discriminant function coefficients, section points and classification percentages for the six functions (Brown 2013:94).

35

Figure 1.3: Mean, minimum and maximum discriminant function scores for the groups in each function (Brown 2013:94).

 

Arithmetic

Function 1             =(144*-0.775)+(195*0.1968)+(146*-0.2354)+(104*-0.0997)+(108*0.3012)+

(88*-0.049)+(63*0.6684)

= -47.6344 CM

Function 2             =(144*-0.4442)+(195*0.3696)+(146*-0.4154)+(104*-0.2440)+(108*0.5477)+

(88*-0.5652)+(63*0.7914)

= -18.645 AM

Function 3                  =(144*-0.7026)+(195*0.1846)+(146*-0.3985)+(104*0.0086)+(108*0.3557)+

(88*0.0449)+(63*0.7057)

= -37.4269 CF

Function 4                 = (144*0.5138)+(195*-0.5818)+(146*0.5197)+(104*0.3492)+(108*-0.6150)+

(88*0.5452)+(63*-0.5997)

= 16.5057 AF

Function 5                 = (144*-0.2721)+(195*-0.4865)+(146*0.4580)+(108*-0.6680)+

(88*0.9548)+(70*0.1989)

= -41.3805 CM

Function 6                 = (144*0.0200)+(195*-0.4340)+(146*0.5072)+(108*-0.7830)+

(88*1.0153)+(70*0.0970)

= 3.8736 CF

 

Since the cranium had previously been determined as male it is possible to disregard the functions (3,4,6) generated for female individuals.

 

 36
 37

Figure 1.5: (Left) Function 1 – Distribution of discriminant function scores for male Aboriginal and European crania. (European<section point<Aboriginal) (Brown 2013:93)

Figure 1.6: (Right) Function 2 – Distribution of discriminant function scores for male Aboriginal and East Asian crania. (East Asian<section point<Aboriginal) (Brown 2013:95)

 

 38  

Figure 1.7: Function 5 – Distribution of discriminant function scores for male European and East Asian crania. (European<section point<Aboriginal) (Brown 2013:98)

 

Combined analysis of these scores would suggest that the cranium belonged to a Caucasian male

 

1.3.4 Ethnic determination using dentition

n36

I1 bucco-lingual 7.9
I2  bucco-lingual 6.8
C  bucco-lingual 9.6
PM1 bucco-lingual 10.5
PM2 bucco-lingual 10.2
M1 bucco-lingual 12.4
M2 bucco-lingual 12.1
M3 bucco-lingual ABS

 

Figure 1.8: Box plots of maxillary bucco-lingual tooth crown dimensions (tooth breadth) in male and female Aborigines (AM & AF), East Asians (EAM & EAF) and Europeans (EM & EF). (Brown 2013:107) Highlighting specimen measurements. Side table displaying numeric data

 

This suggests that while the probability of these teeth (cranium) are of Aboriginal ethnic origin, it must also be noted that in almost all occasions it is at the lower end of the group range. Further determination of palatal shape (Parabolic) and incisor shape (spatulate) (refer table 1.7) would indicate Caucasian origin.

 

1.3.5 Discriminatory function analysis of maxillary dentition

Tooth Dimension Standard coefficients
Maxillary central incisor 7.9 0.21921
Maxillary first premolar 10.5 -0.31967
Maxillary first molar 12.4 0.42844
Maxillary 2nd molar 12.1 0.68526

Table 1.10: Maxillary teeth dimensions and coefficients used for discriminatory function analysis of the cranium

 

Arithmetic

= (Maxillary central incisor*0.21924)+( Maxillary first premolar *-0.31967)

+( Maxillary first molar *0.42844)+( Maxillary 2nd molar *0.68526)

= (7.9*0.21924)+(10.4*-0.31967)+(12.4*0.42844)+(12.1*0.68526)

= 12.01173


 n37  

Figure 1.9: Distribution of the male Aboriginal dentitions (Brown 2013:114) (section point 12.44)

 

This would indicate that relative size of these teeth lie just outside the standard Aboriginal range and is more likely belonging to an individual from a non-Aboriginal population.

 

  • Stature

Although this is an area that requires greater research and it should be noted that coefficient values will change determinant on racial characteristics. It, none the less provides an important starting point

 

Variable Measurement Sex Seema (2011)  Ilayperuma (2010)
constant Coefficient constant Coefficient
glabella-opisthocranion 19.5 Male 136.88 1.89 101.83 3.69
Female 127.05 1.81 226.60 3.86
Combined 77.89 4.89 103.72 3.38
Cranial breadth 14.4 Male 111.61 3.84
Female 111.76 3.33
combined 764.98 6.04

Table 1.11: Data table for stature determination

 

Arithmetic

Regression equation for prediction of stature from cranial length

 

Discussion 1 (Seema 2011:206)

For Males:                136.88+1.89(glabella-opisthocranion)

136.88+1.89(19.5)

173.735cm

For females:             127.05+1.81(195)

127.05+1.81(19.5)

162.345cm

For both Males and Females (Combined):

77.89+4.98(195)

77.89+4.98(19.5)

175cm

 

Discussion 2 (Ilayperuma 2010)

Regression equation for prediction of stature from cranial length:

For male:                  101.83 + 3.69 (Cranial length);

101.83 + 3.69 (19.5)

173.785

For female:               226.60 +3.86(Cranial length);

226.60 +3.86(19.5);

This number although correctly transcribed would indicate an error in the original print giving a stature of 301.87

For both male and female (combined):

103.72 + 3.38 (Cranial length).

103.72 + 3.38 (19.5).

169.63

 

Regression equation for prediction of stature from cranial breadth:

For male:                  111.61 + 3.84 (Cranial breadth);

111.61 + 3.84 (14.4);

166.906

For female:               111.76 +3.33 (Cranial breadth);

111.76 +3.33 (14.4);

159.712

For both male and female (combined):

764.98 + 6.04 (Cranial breadth).

764.98 + 6.04 (14.4).

This number although correctly transcribed would indicate an error in the original

 

A further method would be through the use of a regression equation for prediction of stature from auricular head height:

For male: 120.88 + 3.39 (Head height);

For female: 137.64 + 1.52(Head Height);

For both male and female (combined): 128.17 +2 .55 (Head height).

 

Determination made by these measurements, no deviation for error has been provided, would indicate the possibility of a male individuals stature being within the range of 166.906cm to 173.735cm

 

  • Trauma and Disease

No evidence of Trauma of disease has been noted on the cranium

 

  • Final analysis

Based on the results of this section it would be conclusive to determine that this cranium belonged to a Male of European decent, between the age of 30 and 33 years, with a likely stature of between 166.906cm and 177.735cm. Additionally there is no indication of trauma or disease outside of the significant dental restoration work done to the teeth of the maxilla

 

  • Partial human facial skeleton

 

2.1 Age at death

Identification Age in years Note
Palatal suture closure >35
Tooth eruption >21
Occlusal surfaces >35 l  Wear on LM3 suggestive of >35

l  Wear on occlusal surfaces of RM3 could indicate the probability of no opposing tooth in the maxilla

Table 2.1: Data concerning the age at death taken from report A – Appendix 1

Based on material and adjustments contained in report A, see figure 2.1, A likely age at death would be in excess of 35 years of age.

 

  • Attribution of Sex

 

3      Location Score (1 most feminine to 5 most masculine)
Supra-orbital Margin       x
Supra-orbital Ridge / Glabella       x

Table 2.2: Attribution of sex using factors described in Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994); (cited Bayers 2011:162)

 

This scaling indicates that, based in the remaining visible features, a probable given impression would be that this partial facial skeleton belonged to a male. Further tests remain impossible without further data.

 

2.3 Ethnic Origin

 

2.3.1 Attribution of Ancestry using Cranial Anthroposcopy

While there are numerous factors that allow for the identification of cranial remains in this partial facial skeleton few of these are easily observed such as (i) Moderate to marked prominence of glabella and superciliary ridges (ii) Rectangular orbital cavities (iii) Rounded orbital margin on the zygomatic bones (iv) Short, depressed and concave nasal aperture (v) Blunt nasal spine (vi) Guttering of lower nasal margin (vii) Moderate subnasal prognathism (viii) Marked dental attrition (ix) Large and deep palate

 

Attribution of ancestry
Nose Root Low, ridged
  Bridge missing
  Spine Small
  Lower Border Guttered
  Width Medium
Face Profile Projecting
  Shape Incomplete
  Eye orbits Rectangular
  Lower eye border receding
Vault Brow ridges pronounced
  Muscle marks
  Vault sutures
  Postbregma
Jaws and teeth Jaws
  Palatal shape hyperbolic
  Upper incisors Shovel-shaped

Table 2.3: Combined information from Krogman (1962), Brues (1977) and Rhine (1990b) (cited Byers 2011:135)

 

Purporting to the attribution of ancestry, consideration of these results indicates a likelihood that this individual was of aboriginal descent.

 

              2.3.2 Discriminatory function analysis of maxillary dentition

Tooth Dimension Standard coefficients
Maxillary central incisor 9.4 0.21921
Maxillary first premolar 10.6 -0.31967
Maxillary first molar 13.2 0.42844
Maxillary 2nd molar 14 0.68526

Table 2.4: Maxillary teeth dimensions and coefficients used for discriminatory function analysis of the partial human facial skeleton

 

Arithmetic

= (Maxillary central incisor*0.21924)+( Maxillary first premolar *-0.31967)

+( Maxillary first molar *0.42844)+( Maxillary 2nd molar *0.68526)

= (9.4*0.21924)+(10.6*-0.31967)+(13.2*0.42844)+(14*0.68526)

= 13.921402

 

A score of 13.92 is to the right of the section point displayed Figure 2.1, and in a position most confident of belonging to an Aboriginal Male. Although it is possible that it belonged to an Aboriginal female low counts would lean toward it being unlikely

 40  41

Figure2.1: (Left) Distribution of the male East Asian and Aboriginal dentitions (Brown 2013:114)

Figure 2.2: (Right) Distribution of the female East Asian and Aboriginal dentitions (Brown 2013:114)

 

2.3.3 Ethnic determination using dentition

43

I1 bucco-lingual 8.3
I2  bucco-lingual 7.6
C  bucco-lingual 9.4
PM1 bucco-lingual 10.6
PM2 bucco-lingual 9.8
M1 bucco-lingual 13.2
M2 bucco-lingual 14.0
M3 bucco-lingual 13.3

Figure 2.3: Box plots of maxillary bucco-lingual tooth crown dimensions (tooth breadth) in male and female Aborigines (AM & AF), East Asians (EAM & EAF) and Europeans (EM & EF). (Brown 2013:107) Highlighting specimen measurements. Side table displaying numeric data

 

2.4 Stature

In sufficient material remains for the application of linear regression formula for the determination of stature

 

2.5 Trauma and Disease

The partial facial skeleton prior to its reconstruction has been fragmented numerous times posthumously and while it is possible there is no evidence to clearly suggest trauma or disease. It should be noted that while there is no evidence of trauma or disease there tooth wear is considerable high.

 

2.6 Final analysis

These results suggest that this partial facial skeleton belonged to an Australian Aboriginal male, in excess of 35 years of age, most likely with a traditional lifestyle.

  • Mandible 1

 

The mandible is a tooth bearing bone which exhibits visible differences between Aboriginal people and those of non-Aboriginal decent, particularly in the larger tooth dimensions of the former. Increased teeth sizes necessitate a proportional increase in the dimensions of the supportive alveolar bone. Resulting in significant increases in the length and breadth dimensions of the mandibular dental arch. Aboriginal mandibles are significantly larger, compared to those of European or East Asian origin. Large mandibular teeth, with associated large palates, tend to have a distinctive shape in the symphysial region. When viewed from the side, Aboriginal mandibles have only minimal incurvature between the tooth row and the mental trigone, often not projecting very far and giving the chin a receding appearance. This receding appearance is more a result of the dominance of alveolar bone than a product of a small mental trigone. Smaller teeth and palate require less alveolar bone and the mental trigone projects forward more greatly, relative to the incisor teeth, providing the appearance or the prominent chin region found in European and East Asian mandibles compared to those of Aborigines. (Brown 2013:115)

Further mandibular difference is linked to function. Traditional Aboriginal diets required relatively powerful and prolonged mastication resulting in greater development of major masticatory muscles, typically uncommon in people of non-Indigenous heritage. “On the mandible this is reflected in the areas of attachment for the masseter and pterygoid muscles. The masseter muscle attaches to the masseteric fossa on the external surface of the ramus. A large masseter muscle, and powerful chewing, will result in a deeply depressed masseteric fossa, eversion of the angle of the mandible and a series of ridges and bumps projecting from the inferior edge of the masseteric fossa. On the internal surface of the ramus there is an equivalent area for attachment of the pterygoid muscles” (Brown 2013:115-6)

 44  45

Figure 3.1: Medial and lateral views of an adult male Aboriginal mandible (Brown 2013:116)

 

3.1 Age at death

Referring to details contained in report A (Appendix 1), age at death is suggested to have been in excess of 45 years of age.

 

  • Sex Determination
    • Attribution of Sex using Anthroposcopy
Traits Males Females
Chin Broad Pointed
Location Score (1 most feminine to 5 most masculine)
Mental Eminence     x    

Table 3.1: Attribution of sex using factors described in Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994) (cited Bayers 2011:162)

46

Male                                                                Female

Figure 3.2: Profile of a ‘classic’ male and ‘classic’ female mandible, showing the variation in size, robusticity and shape possible between the sexes. (Brickley 2004:24)

 

  • Attribution of Sex: Indira (2012) regression model
Variable Measurement Coefficients
    Male Female
max. ramus breadth 48 1.361 1.276
min. ramus breadth 34 1.087 0.948
condylar height 64 2.253 2.220
projective height of ramus 64 − 0.717 − 0.753
coronoid height 77 0.081 0.063
Constant   −185.622 −161.761

Table 3.2: Specimen dimensions for mandible 1 (provided Brown) Section Point -0.667

 

Arithmetic

DMale:                      =−185.622 + 1.361 (max. ramus breadth) + 1.087 (min. ramus breadth) + 2.253

(condylar height) − 0.717 (projective height of ramus) + 0.081 (coronoid height)

=-185.622+(1.361*48)+(1.087*34)+(2.253*64)-(0.717*64)+(0.081*77)

= 21.205

DFemale:             =−161.761 + 1.276 (max. ramus breadth) + 0.948 (min. ramus breadth) + 2.220 (condylar height) − 0.753 (projective height of ramus) + 0.063 (coronoid height)

=-161.761+(1.276*48)+(0.948*34)+(2.220*64)-(0.753*64)+(0.063*77)

= 30.458

 

When classifying any sample as male or female, the greater calculated value of the two equations is considered. Calculation of both values being greater than the sectioning point, Female < −0.667 < Male, indicate the likelihood of this individual being male.

 

  • Ethnic Origin

Using elements of the description contained at the beginning of this section, this mandible exhibits both indications of greater muscle development on the internal and external surfaces, a depressed masseteric fossa and a series of ridges and bumps. Considering this, it would be conclude that this individual is likely of Aboriginal decent.

 

47

I1 bucco-lingual 5.5
I2  bucco-lingual 5.6
C  bucco-lingual 6.2
PM1 bucco-lingual 9.1
PM2 bucco-lingual 8.9
M1 bucco-lingual 12.5
M2 bucco-lingual 12.2
M3 bucco-lingual 12.0

Figure 3.3: Box plots of mandibular bucco-lingual tooth crown dimensions (tooth breadth) in male and female Aborigines (AM & AF), East Asians (EAM & EAF) and Europeans (EM & EF). (Brown 2013:106) Highlighting specimen measurements. Side table displaying numeric data

Determination of these results would lead to the belief that this individual was definitely of Aboriginal descent and most likely male. The smaller incisor could lead to a possible misconception of the individual have been a female rather than a male.

 

  • Stature

Although a number of methods for stature determination exist which include the use of the mandible, no identifiable means exist, using the material available, to determine the stature of an isolated mandible.

 

  • Trauma and Disease

It should be noted that the appearance of what could be Periodontosis, or gingival regression, resulting from “the degeneration of the soft tissue surrounding the tooth” (Prince 2002:107) can be identified in the area of the left central incisor

 

 48  49

Image 3.1: (Left) Occlusal view of the teeth of mandible 1

Image 3.2: (Right) Posterior view of the symphysis and incisor teeth view of mandible 1 (Brown 2013)

  • Final analysis

The results in this section referring to mandible 1 suggest the likelihood of it belonging to an Australian Aboriginal male of indeterminate stature in excess of 45 years of age, most likely with a traditional lifestyle, and suffering from periodontosis.

 

  • Mandible 2

 

4.1 Age at death

Referring to details contained in report A (appendix 1) the individual was determined to be aged between 30-35 years at the time of death

 

  • Sex Determination

4.2.1 Attribution of Sex using Anthroposcopy

Traits Males Females
Chin Broad Pointed
Location Score (1 most feminine to 5 most masculine)
Mental Eminence       x  

Table 4.1: Attribution of sex using factors described in Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994); (cited Byers 2011:162)

 

4.2.2 Attribution of Sex: Indira (2012) regression model

Variable Measurement Coefficients
    Male Female
max. ramus breadth 44 1.361 1.276
min. ramus breadth 33 1.087 0.948
condylar height 58 2.253 2.220
projective height of ramus 55 − 0.717 − 0.753
coronoid height 65 0.081 0.063
Constant   −185.622 −161.761

Table 4.2: Specimen dimensions for mandible 1 (provided Brown 2013) Section Point -0.667

 

Arithmetic

DMale:                      = −185.622 + 1.361 (max. ramus breadth) + 1.087 (min. ramus breadth) + 2.253

(condylar height) − 0.717 (projective height of ramus) + 0.081 (coronoid height)

=-185.622+(1.361*44)+(1.087*33)+(2.253*58)-(0.717*55)+(0.081*65)

= 6.637

DFemale:                  = -161.761+(1.276*max. ramus breadth)+(0.948*min. ramus breadth)+(2.220

*condylar height)-(0.753*projective height of ramus)+(0.063*coronoid height)

=-161.761+(1.276*44)+(0.948*33)+(2.220*58)-(0.753*55)+(0.063*65)

= 17.108

When classifying any sample as male or female, the greater calculated value of the two equations is considered. Both values achieved in this calculation are greater than the sectioning point, Female < −0.667 < Male, indicating the likelihood of this individual being male.

  • Ethnic Origin

This mandible provides minimal sign of enlarged muscle development congruent with the description provided in section 3. It does however, when viewed from the side posess a pronounced chin region, indicative of Caucasian ancestry. Other elements contained in the general description would further lead to the conclusion of this mandible not being of Aboriginal decent.

 

50

I1 bucco-lingual 6.9
I2  bucco-lingual 6.8
C  bucco-lingual 8.9
PM1 bucco-lingual 8.8
PM2 bucco-lingual  
M1 bucco-lingual 10.6
M2 bucco-lingual 11.3
M3 bucco-lingual 11.0

Figure 4.1: Box plots of mandibular bucco-lingual tooth crown dimensions (tooth breadth) in male and female Aborigines (AM & AF), East Asians (EAM & EAF) and Europeans (EM & EF). (Brown 2013:106) Highlighting specimen measurements. Side table displaying numeric data

These observations clearly identify the individual as male with the most probable indication of ethnic heritage being of East Asian Decent. Though less probable it could still remain plausible that the individual was of European decent.

  • Stature

Similar to mandible 1, no identifiable means exist, using the material available, to determine the stature of an isolated mandible.

  • Trauma and Disease

While impaction of LM3 and extensive reconstruction to the occlusal surfaces exists there is no evidence of trauma or disease

  • Final analysis

The results in this section referring to mandible 2 suggest the most probable determination of this individual being a male of European decent, of indeterminate stature, and between 30 and 35 years of age.

 

  • Pubic Symphysis 9

 

 51  52  54

Image 5.1: Side view of the left os coxae (innominate) which provided pubic symphysis 9.

Image 5.2: Front view of the left os coxae (innominate) above showing the shape of the pubic symphysis region.

Image 5.3: Bone number 9 (Brown 2013)

5.1 Age at Death

Pubic Symphysis
 

Bone Number

Age Range  

Pubic Surface

Margins   Extremities  
Todd Suchey Brooks Ventral Dorsal Upper Lower
9 25-29 P2

19-40

Ridges and furrows reduced Bevel present Plateau present undefined Partly defined

Table 5.1: Summary of results contained in report A (appendix 1)

 

 

These findings are suggestive of this bone belonging to an individual whose age at death can be placed at early to mid-20s with a likely age of 25 years.

 

  • Sex Determination

 

5.2.1 Sex determination by sub pelvis angle

 53 54  55

Image 5.4: Approximation of the sub pelvis angle to attribute sex showing an angle of significantly less than 90 degrees indicating male. In its appearance it more closely resembles a V shape

Image 5.5: Image showing the sub pelvis angle of a male (http://what-when-how.com/forensic-sciences/skeletal-analysis/)

Based on these images the sub pelvis angle used to attribute sex, would likely exhibit an angle of significantly less than 90 degrees indicating male. In its appearance, size and shape is indicative of a male more closely resembles a V shape rather than the typical U shape of a female.

 

  • Characteristics of Phenice
Variable Male Female
Ventral arc Absent / small Present / large
Sub pelvic concavity absent Present
Medial aspect of ischio-pubic ramus Wide / dull Narrow / sharp
Total 3 0

Table 5.2: Results of observations after Phenice (1969)

 

The three Phenice traits, all located on the anterior pubis, are originally described as only present or absent. Lovell found that more experience did not greatly increase the accuracy of an observer. Although Phenice published an accuracy rate of 95%, Lovell (1989:117) noted that “An accuracy of ~83% in determining was recorded, compared to 95% reported by Phenice… Previous experience in human osteological analysis was shown to have no effect on the accuracy in this test, confirming Phenice’s assertion that the technique does not require extensive experience to yield accurate results”

 56  57  58

Figure 5.1: Ventral arc on ventral surface of the female pubis (A) Slight ridge on ventral aspect of male pubis (B) (Figure 1, Phenice 1969:299).

Figure 5.2: Subpubic concavity seen from dorsal aspect of female pubis and ischio-pubic ramus (C) Dorsal aspect of male pubis and ischio-pubic ramus (D) (Figure 1, Phenice 1969:299).

Figure 5.3: Ridge on medial aspect of female ischio-pubic ramus (E) Broad medial surface of male ischio-pubic ramus (F) (Figure 1, Phenice 1969:299).

5.2.3 Determination, by examination of the Greater Sciatic Notch

59

Figure 5.4: Visual display of observations recorded for bone number 9 bases on photographic image 5.1 (provided Brown 2013) (figure Walker in Buikstra and Ubelaker 1994:18 cited White 2005:393)

3.2.4 Additional Means

Additional means of sex determination for this region would have been to examine the relationship between the breadth of the Greater Sciatic notch and the diameter of the acetabular, which applies to all sexes and ancestries, Index: greater sciatic notch width (mm) x 100 / vertical diameter of the acetabulum (mm) (Females > 88, Males < 86; Reported accuracy: approximately 90%), or through the determination of an Ischium-Pubic Index, Pubic length/Ischium length*100 (male<84; female>94)

  • Final analysis

These observations would conclude that this bone was from a male aged early to mid-20s with a likely age of 25 years. No methods or data is available to determine stature or race. There is no indication of disease or trauma.

 

  • Pubic Symphysis 10

 

6.1 Age at Death

Pubic Symphysis
 

Bone Number

Age Range  

Pubic Surface

Margins   Extremities  
Todd Suchey Brooks Ventral Dorsal Upper Lower
10 30-34 P3

21-53

Granular appearance Rampart complete Plateau complete Starts forming Continues forming

Table 6.1: Summary of results contained in report A (appendix 1)

 

  • Sex Determination

6.2.1 Characteristics of Phenice

Variable Male Female
Ventral arc Absent / small Present / large
Sub pelvic concavity absent Present
Medial aspect of ischiopubic ramus Wide / dull Narrow / sharp
Total 2 1

Table 6.2: Results of observations after Phenice (1969)

 

  • Final analysis

Limited data and observation for bone number 10 suggests a male Late 20s into early 30s with a likely age of 30 years. No methods or data is available to determine stature or race. There is no indication of disease or trauma.

 

  • Pubic Symphysis 11

 

 60  61  62

Image 7.1: Side view of the left os coxae (innominate) which provided pubic symphysis 11.

Image 7.2: Front view of the left os coxae (innominate) above showing the shape of the pubic symphysis region.

Image 7.3: Bone number 11 (Brown 2013)

 

7.1 Age at Death

Pubic Symphysis
 

Bone Number

Age Range  

Pubic Surface

Margins   Extremities  
Todd Suchey Brooks Ventral Dorsal Upper Lower
11 45-49 P4

23-70

Erosion? Irregular lipping Regular lipping Fully formed Fully formed

Table 7.1: Summary of results contained in report A (appendix 1)

 

These findings suggest that this bone belonged to an individual who’s age at death may be regarded as being mid to late 30s age group with an approximated age of 37 years.

 

7.2 Age at Death

 

7.2.1 Sex determination by sub pelvis angle

63

Image 7.4: Approximation of the sub pelvis angle to attribute sex showing an angle of approximately or greater than 90 degrees. Its angle, size and shape (U shaped) are all indicative of being female.

Image 7.5: Image showing the sub pelvis angle of a female (http://what-when-how.com/forensic-sciences/skeletal-analysis/)

 

Based on the above images, the sub pelvis angle used to attribute sex exhibits an angle of greater than 90 degrees indication of it being female in origin.

 

  • Characteristics of Phenice
Variable Male Female
Ventral arc Absent / small Present / large
Sub pelvic concavity absent Present
Medial aspect of ischiopubic ramus Wide / dull Narrow / sharp
Total 0 3

Table 7.2: Results of observations after Phenice (1969)

 

  • Determination, by examination of the Greater Sciatic Notch

64

Figure 7.1: Visual display of observations recorded for bone number 9 bases on photographic image 7.1 (provided Brown 2013) (figure Walker in Buikstra and Ubelaker 1994:18 cited White 2005:393)

  • Final analysis

Recoded observations of size and shape of this bone (11) would propose that it from a female aged mid to late 30s with an approximated age of 37 years. No methods or data is available to determine stature or race. There is no indication of disease or trauma.

  

  • Ulna 1

 

8.1 Age at death

The bone length of ulna 1 indicates that is was retrieved from an individual in excess of 12 years of age. This concurs with the examination of Epiphyseal union of the proximal ulna, which Brown (2013) suggests occurs at 14.5-15.5 years of age and the distal ulna at 18-19 years. Fusion at both these sites confirms this individual as an adult. Evidence of eburnation and marginal lipping, particularly noticeable in the area surrounding the radial notch and the olecranon process. This is likely indicative of osteoarthritis. This would indicate an older individual with a probable age in excess of 45. It could also be indicative of an individual who has undertaken consistent exertion affecting this joint (scraping, throwing, paddling, sawing and cutting, etc.). Although difficult to determine an exact age this would suggest the individual was in excess of 45 years and likely in excess of 60 years

 65  

Image 8.1 Proximal articular surface of ulna 1 (Brown 2013)

 

  • Sex Determination

8.2.1 Discriminant function analysis for the sex determination of the ulna (Barrier 2007)

66

Figure 8.1: Discriminant function coefficients ans demarking points for the ulna (Barrier 2007:37)

 

Variable Ulna 1
1. Maximum length 261
2. Anterior posterior diameter 14.2
3. Medial lateral diameter 15.1
4. Minimum circumference 3.5
5. Olecranon breadth 27.6
6. Minimum Olecranon breadth 26.2
7. Height of the Olecranon 39.7

Table 8.1: Specimen data for ulna 1

 

Arithmetic

Function 1             =( Maximum length *0.03)+( Anterior posterior diameter *0.49)+( Minimum Olecranon breadth *0.16)-18.49

=(261*0.03)+(14.2*0.49)+(26.2*0.16)-18.49

= 0.49

Function 2             =( Anterior posterior diameter *0.54)+( Medial lateral diameter *0.14)+( Olecranon breadth *0.22)-14.5

=(14.2*0.54)+(15.1*0.14)+(27.6*0.22)-14.5

= 1.354

Function 3                  =( Anterior posterior diameter *0.68)+( Medial lateral diameter *0.26)-12.54

=(14.2*0.68)+(15.1*0.26)-12.54

= 1.042

Function 4                  = Olecranon breadth *0.51-12.43

=27.6*0.51-12.43

= 1.646

 

All 4 functions are suggestive of this ulna belonging to a Male

 

  • Ethnic Origin

According to Brown (personal communication 2013) it is not possible to determine the race of an isolated ulna with the means available.

  • Stature

Human habitation of cold, temperate and tropical regions typically exhibit variations in relative limb lengths, most noticeable in the distal parts of limbs. This means that should the application of a European derived formula be applied to an Aboriginal radius, or ulna, it would provide a overestimated stature. To minimize errors, it is therefore, crucial to implement the most appropriately available formula. (Brown 2013:137)

Due to the relative difficulty of accurately determining the sex of isolated ulnae, except at the extremes of size (very big/very small) within a population. Recommendations project that, for stature estimation all options should be covered, sex and race specific, to provide the best possible sequence.

Arithmetic (Byers 2011:219)

CMSt              =4.534*uln+53.33= stature+/-5.56cm

=4.534*26.1+53.33

= 171.6674

Range 166.1047 – 177.2274

CFSt                =3.346*uln+82.82=stature+/-4.51cm

=3.346*26.1 +82.82

= 170.1506

Range 165.6406 – 174.6606

Although not Ideal this estimate is based on Black South African populations (Lundy 1983) based on the idea that relatively similar bone lengths apply (Brown 2013:136)

Arithmetic (Brown 2013:136-8)

AMSt              =2.94*uln+73.54= stature+/-4.31cm

=2.94*26.1+73.54

= 150.274

Range 145.964 – 154.584

AFSt                =3.81*uln+48.15=stature+/-4.26cm

=3.81*26.1+48.15

= 147.591

Range 143.337 – 151.851

Another alternative it the following generic formula (Barrier, 2007) often given to provide a quick indication

St                   =3.26*(ulna)+78.29 = stature +/-4.42cm

=3.26*26.1+78.29

= 163.376

Range 158.956 – 167.776

These suggest that the stature of the individual was between 147 +/- 4.26cm and 172cm +/-5.56cm tall. Adjusting this to include the possibility of sex the range is narrowed to 150 +/-4.31 and 172cm +/-5.56cm tall

  • Trauma and Disease

This bone shows signs of osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. This form is characterized by the destruction of the articular cartilage in joints (noticeable in the proximal joint of this bone) and the formation of adjacent bone in the form of a bony lipping or spur (osteophytes) around the edges of the joints (White and Folkens 2005:325) This degradation is noted to be inherent to the aging process and indicative of an older aged person.

  • Final analysis

The most probable donor of this bone was a male with a minimum age of 45 years, likely though in excess of 60 years observable through signs of osteoarthritis in the proximal bone joint. He was of indeterminate ethnic origin and likely had a stature ranging between 145.69 and 177.56cm tall

 

  • Ulna 2

 

9.1 Age at death

Bone length indicates that is was retrieved from an individual in excess of 12 years of age. This concurs with the examination of Epiphyseal union of the proximal ulna, which Brown (2013) suggests occurs at 14.5-15.5 years of age and the distal ulna at 18-19 years. Fusion at both these sites confirms this individual as an adult. Significant eburnation noticeable in the area surrounding the radial notch and the olecranon process along with distinct wearing of the styloid process represent wear over greater number years.

 

  • Sex Determination

9.2.1 Discriminant function analysis for the sex determination of the ulna (Barrier 2007)

Variable Ulna 2
1. Maximum length 255
2. Anterior posterior diameter 15
3. Medial lateral diameter 13.8
4. Minimum circumference 3.3
5. Olecranon breadth 32.6
6. Minimum Olecranon breadth 24.7
7. Height of the Olecranon 23.8

Table 9.1: Specimen data for ulna 1

Function 1             =( Maximum length *0.03)+( Anterior posterior diameter *0.49)+( Minimum Olecranon breadth *0.16)-18.49

=(255*0.03)+(15*0.49)+(24.7*0.16)-18.49

= 0.462

Function 2             =( Anterior posterior diameter *0.54)+( Medial lateral diameter *0.14)+( Olecranon breadth *0.22)-14.5

=(15*0.54)+(13.8*0.14)+(32.6*0.22)-14.5

= 2.7

Function 3                  =( Anterior posterior diameter *0.68)+( Medial lateral diameter *0.26)-12.54

=(15*0.68)+(13.8*0.26)-12.54

= 1.248

Function 4                  = Olecranon breadth *0.51-12.43

=32.6*0.51-12.43

= 4.196

 

All 4 functions are suggestive of this ulna belonging to a Male

 

  • Ethnic Origin

Like section 8, According to Brown (personal communication 2013) it is not possible to determine the race of an isolated ulna with the means available.

 

  • Stature

Arithmetic (Byers 2011:219)

CMSt              =4.534*uln+53.33= stature+/-5.56cm

=4.534*25.5+53.33

=168.947

CFSt                =3.346*uln+82.82=stature+/-4.51cm

=3.346*25.5+82.82

= 168.143

Estimation using relative bone lengths of a Black South African populations (Lundy 1983)

Arithmetic (Brown 2013:136-8)

AMSt              =2.94*uln+73.54= stature+/-4.31cm

=2.94*25.5+73.54

= 148.51

AFSt                =3.81*uln+48.15=stature+/-4.26cm

=3.81*25.5+48.15

=145.305

A generic formula to provide quick indications

St                   =3.26*(ulna)+78.29 = stature +/-4.42cm

=3.26*25.5+78.29

=161.42

These suggest that the stature of the individual was between 145 +/- 4.26cm and 170cm +/-5.56cm tall. Adjusting this to include the possibility of sex the range is narrowed to 148.51 +/-4.31cm and 168.947 +/-5.56cm tall

 67  68

 Image 9.1 Lesion on the proximal end of ulna 2 (left)

Image 9.2 Lesion on the mid-shaft of ulna 2 (cut mark postmortem) (Right) (Brown 2013).

 69  

Image 9.3 Reconstruction of proximal surface of ulna 2

 

9.5 Trauma and Disease

Similar to ulna 1, length and examination of epiphyseal union showing fusion dates this individual as an adult. The appearance of lesions, likely osteomyelitis, caused by bacteria that initially enter the bone via a wound, – bone shape suggests that this was likely a fracture – and resulted in bone inflammation (White and Folkens 2005:318). Significant eburnation noticeable in the area surrounding the radial notch and the olecranon process is present suggesting that this individual lived with this condition for a significant number of years prior to death. Distinct wearing of the styloid process also representing wear over greater number years. Although definitive age is indeterminate this would suggest in excess of 45 years of age.

9.6 Final analysis

It appears most likely that this bone belonged to a male with an approximate age in excess 45 years. He was of indeterminate ethnic origin and likely had a stature ranging between 143.69 and 175.56cm tall

 

  • Conclusion

 

10.1 Summary of Results

Bone Age at death sex Ethnic origin stature Trauma and disease
Cranium 30-33 years Male Caucasian 159.712-175cm None apparent
Facial skeleton >35 years Male Aboriginal indeterminate unknown
Mandible 1 >45 Male Aboriginal Indeterminate Periodontosis
Mandible 2 30-45 Male Caucasian indeterminate None apparent
Ulna 1 >60 Male Indeterminate 147.591-171.667cm Osteoarthritis
Ulna 2 >45 Male indeterminate 145.305-168.947cm Healed Fracture and possible osteomyelitis
Pubis 1 25 Male indeterminate indeterminate None apparent
Pubis 2 30 Male indeterminate indeterminate None apparent
Pubis 3 37 Female indeterminate indeterminate None apparent

Table 10.1 Summary of results contained in this report

 

  • Discussion

Available data, alongside suggestions made by Brothwell (1981:17) in regard to assessing interlocking of occlusion it could be surmised that mandible 2 belongs to the full cranium provided. This is also congruent with assessment of age, and sex determination. It is possible that one of the 2 male pubis found (bone 9 and 10) can also be attributed to this individual. Further attribution pertaining to other bones is unlikely due to indications of aging found. Specific data for this individual may meet the requirements for the male stipulated in the police report however, age determination suggests an individual a little older. Additionally tooth loss in cranium and corresponding mandible although possible, is somewhat uncommon in contemporary western society leading to a possible indication that these belonged to an individual that has been dead for some time. Only pubis 3 corresponds to a female and this individual would lay well outside the plausible range to meet the requirements of the missing female.

Considering the total of the bones it appears that there are not less than 4 individuals present, assuming some error associated with results (particularly in the analysis of the Pubic Symphysis – low estimation of age) and matching the maximum possible number of bones with each individual. As a result of the number of indeterminate factors associated with this analysis and problems associated with differential calculations, it is more likely though that some of these are isolated bones increasing this number to a maximum of 8.

Further error can be found in the form of the use of regression formula based on the notion that for similar individuals similar bone dimensions may apply.

 

References

Barrier, I.L.O., 2007. Sex determination from the bones in the forarm in a modern South African sample. Thesis Dissertation, University of Pretoria, [Online] Accessed: 20 December 2013, http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-08052008-090115/unrestricted/dissertation.pdf

Brickley, M., McKinley, J.I., 2004. Guidelines to the Standards for Recording Human Remains,

BABAO, Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton and the Institute of Field Archaeologists, SHES, University of Reading, Whiteknights.

Brothwell, D.R., 1981. Digging up Bones. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Brown , P., 2013. ARPA336 Forensic Anthropology Course Book, University of New England, Armidale.

Buikstra, J.E., Ubelaker, D.H. 1994. Standards for Data Collection From Human Skeletal Remains. Fayetteville, Arkansas: Arkansas Archaeological Survey Report Number 44.

Byers, S.N., 2011. Introduction to Forensic Anthropology, 4th Edn. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Byers, S.N., 2011b. Introduction to Forensic Anthropology: Laboratory Manual, 4th Edn. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Garvin, H.M., Passalacqua, N.V., Uhl, N.M., Gipson, D.R., Overbury, R.S., Cabo, L.L., 2012. Developments in Forensic Anthropology: Age-at-Death Estimation (chapter 10) in Dirkmaat, D.C. (ed.), A Companion to Forensic Anthropology, Blackwell Publishing Ltd. U.K.

Grey, H., 1995. Greys Anatomy, 15th Edn. Barns & Noble, New York, NY.

Ilayperuma, I., 2010. On the prediction of personal stature from cranial dimensions. International Journal of  Morphology, Universidad de la Frontera, Chile , Vol.8, Iss.4, 2010, pp.1135-1140.

Indira, A.P., Markande, A., David, M.P., 2012. Mandibular ramus: An indicator for sex determination – A digital radiographic study, Journal of Forensic Dental Science. Vol.4 Iss.2 Jul-Dec 2012 pp.58–62. doi:  10.4103/0975-1475.109885

Lovell, N.,1989. Test of Phenice’s Technique for Determining Sex From the OS Pubis, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 79, pp. 117-120.

Phenice, T.W., 1969. A newly developed visual method of sexing the os pubis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 48 pp. 121-122

Prince, D.A. and Ubelaker D.H., 2002. Application of Lamendin’s Adult Dental Aging Technique to a Diverse Skeletal Sample. Journal of Forensic Sciences. vol. 47  Iss. 1, pp. 107-116

Rai, B., Anand, S., Madan, M., Dhattarwal, S., 2006. Criteria for Determination of Sex from Mandible. The Internet Journal of Dental Science. Vol. 4, Iss. 2. [Online] Accessed: 16 December 2013, http://ispub.com/IJDS/4/2/10033#

Seema, Mahajan A., 2011. Estimation of personal height from the length of the head in Punjab zone. International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental Sciences, Vol.1, Iss.3, Sept-Nov 2011 pp. 205-208

Ubelaker, D.H. 1989. Human Skeletal Remains: Excavation, Analysis, Interpretation (2nd Ed.). Washington, DC: Taraxacum.

Wienker, C.W., 1984. Sex determination from human skeletal remains: A case of mistaken assumption. In Rathbun, T., Buikstra, J. (eds.), Human identification: Case studies in forensic Anthropology. Charles Thomas, Springfield, pp. 229-243.

White, T.D., Folkens, P.A., 2005. The Human Bone Manual. Academic Press, Burlington, MA.

 

Appendix 1

Introduction

Estimated age-at-death, based on standards and methods developed from skeletons with documented biological data, is one of the three demographic characteristics discernable from skeletal remains (Byers 2011:174). Brothwell (1981:61) notes that “work is still far from complete”. While most ossification and eruption times are understood for American and European samples, these may not apply to other areas of the world. In non-adults, single age indicators are based on skeletal growth and development, primary and secondary ossification areas, dentition and studies conducted through the consideration of long bone lengths, tooth eruption, and epiphyseal union. Although many of these processes become unusable in age determination of adult remains, several alternate methods are available. Most of these however, are associated with wide margins of error, broad age groupings or bands, and are typically derived from techniques that employ methods of assessing and documenting specific traits relating to the skeleton’s deterioration. Age determination in adults could involve methods such as examining, the changes in the pubic symphyseal surface (Todd 1920), auricular surface of the Os coxae (Lovejoy et al. 1985; Murry 1991), morphology of the sternal ends of ribs (Iscan 1985), cranial suture closure (Todd and Lyone 1925,1925; Meindl and Lovejoy 1985),palatal sutures (Mann et al 1997; Gruspier and Mullen 1991), cortical bone remodeling (bone histology) (Kerley  1965; Kerley and Ubelaker 1978), and dental attrition (Lovejoy 1985, Molnar 1990). These methods although providing a basis for age determination are not perfect and rely upon additional supporting data. Prince (2008:578) outlines a number of reasons for this; (i) the subjectivity of the observer, (ii) large or open ended age ranges for example, Suchey- Brooks Phase V: 25–83 years, Todd phase 10: 50+, (iii) stages often overlap, (iv) preservation problems, (v) bias in over or underestimating age, (vi) age mimicry and (vii) the use of improper theoretical and statistical methodologies. This leads many to the belief that attempts to ascertain accurate estimations of age at death should be made using as many methods and locations as possible. Meindl and Lovejoy (1985a:65) confide that, “[n]o single skeletal indicator of age at death is ever likely to accurately reflect the many factors which accumulate with chronological age, each of which can contribute valuable information to the age estimate”.

  1. Human Cranium
    • Ectocranial Sutures

Generally, determining age through ectocranial suture examination relies on the expectation that as the degree of closure increases, so too does the age of the individual. Meindl and Lovejoy (1985a:62) propose that, Individuals with “fully open cranial sutures should be aged based on postcranial indicators” and, that in their belief, “fully closed crania must be aged by pelvic and radiographic indicators and especially dental attrition”. Their research acknowledges various assertions posed by researchers concerning problems of sex and/or race and their bearing on age related closure. Krogman (1949:22 cited Meindl 1985a:58), for example, holds that no difference exists, Brooks (1955:573-74 cited Meindl 1985a:58) concludes that there is, while Todd and Lyone (1924:333 cited Meindl and Lovejoy 19858:58) propound that the differences are valid but remain insignificant. Other methodologies exist, such as Todd and Lyon’s scaling of the sample to only include crania that carried, or rather did not carry, specific traits, A scaling that Meindl and Lovejoy (1985a:58) opined resulted in “markedly erroneous age estimates”, have been similarly attacked for different reasons.

 

Despite limitations, Meindl and Lovejoy’s process remains one of the most commonly performed observation method for evaluating degrees of cranial suture closure, the other being Ubelaker and Buikstra, 1994. Estimates are provided following both methods to display existent differences between resulting age determinations. In performing observations, specific sites along each suture are examined to garner information for determining known, approximations for fusion. These approximations are subsequently used to calculate a composite score correlating to a chronological age bracket. If allsites cannot be allocated scores, then a composite score cannot be determined. These sites comprise of (i) midlambdoid (72)[1], (ii) lambda (72), (iii) obelion (69), (iv) anterior sagittal (68), (v) bregma (69), (vi) midcoronal (69), (vii) pterion (76), (viii) sphenofrontal (71), (ix) inferior sphenotemporal (67), and (x) superior sphenotemporal (65), which are then divided into vault (Locations i-vi) and lateral systems (Locations vi-x). At each site, the score of 0, or open is given when there is no evidence of any ectocranial closure, 1 for minimal closure, 2 to sites with a significant (≥ 50%) but incomplete closure, and 3 for a completely obliterated suture. Based on the information compiled in table 1.1 an estimated likely age-at-death for this individual would approximately 34 years of age, +-8 years.

 70  71

Image 1.1 Facial and Left side view of the human cranium taken during the preparation stage for mould making

(Note the modelling clay filling the nasal cavity and orbits). (Images Brown, 2013).

72

Image 1.2 Ten observation points or regions at which the suture closure is read (Modified from Meindl and Lovejoy, 1985a:60; Novotmy et al. 1993:74)

  Sites on the Ectocranium  
Site Score Notes:
  Vault Lateral-Anterior  
Midlambdoid 0
Lambda 0
Obelion 1
Anterior-sagittal 1
Bregma 0
Midcoronal 0 0
Pterion 1
Sphenofrontal 0
Inferior sphenotemporal 0
Superior sphenotemporal 0
Total 4 1
Stage S1 S1 Byers, 2011
Age Range 23-45 21-42 Meindl and Lovejoy, 1985
30-60 19-44 Ubelaker and Buikstra, 1994 in Byers, 2011:206
Mean Age from endocranial suture closure 34.7  (S.D 7.8) 32 (S.D 8.3) Meindl and Lovejoy, 1985a:63
Age from palatal suture closure 20-34 Appearance, although possible obscured, suggests that there is a complete closure of the incisive suture and the transverse palatine as well as a partial closure of the Posterior Median Palantine. The Anterior Median Palatine remains open
Age Estimates would likely indicate early 30s

Table 1.1 Ectocranial Suture closure and age determination pertaining to the cranium in image 1.1

 

73

Ectocranial Vault Suture Closure Ectocranial Lateral Suture Closure
Composite Score Stage Composite Score Stage
1-2 S1 1 S1
3-6 S2 2 S2
7-11 S3 3-5 S3
12-15 S4 6 S4
16-18 S5 7-8 S5
19-20 S6 9-10 S6
11-14 S7

 

Figure 1.1 Determinations of age based on Ectocranial Suture closure (Buikstra and Ubelaker, 1994 in Byers, 2011:206)

Table 1.2 and 1.3: Determinations of age based on Ectocranial Suture closure (Meindl and Lovejoy, 198a:63)

Table 1.2: Ectocranial Lateral Suture Closure

Composite Score Number Mean Age Standard Deviation Mean Deviation Inter-Decile Range Range
0 (open) 42 -43 -50
1 18 32.0 8.3 6.7 21-42 19-48
2 18 3602 6.2 4.8 29-44 25-49
3,4,5 56 41.1 10.0 8.3 28-52 23-68
6 17 43.4 10.7 8.5 30-54 23-63
7,8 31 45.5 8.9 7.4 35-57 32-65
9,10 29 51.9 12.5 10.2 39-69 33-76
11,12,13,14 24 56.2 8.5 6.3 49-65 34-68
15 (closed) 1
  (Total) 236

Table 1.3: Ectocranial Vault Suture Closure

Composite Score Number Mean Age Standard Deviation Mean Deviation Inter-Decile Range Range
0 (open) 24 -35 -49
1,2 12 30.5 9.6 7.4 19-44 18-45
3,4,5,6 30 34.7 7.8 6.4 23-45 22-48
7,8,9,10,11 50 39.4 9.1 7.2 28-44 24-60
12,13,14,15 50 45.2 12.6 10.3 31-65 24-75
16,17,18 31 48.8 10.5 8.3 35-60 30-71
19,20 26 51.5 12.6 9.8 34-63 23-76
21 (closed) 13 43- 40-
  (Total) 236
  • Tooth formation and Eruption

Tooth development and eruption are used extensively in human skeletal age determination following notions that tooth development is more tightly genetically controlled, resulting in an increased reliability in age prediction than other osteological indicators (White and Folkens 2005:364). Stage comparisons of dental formation are most useful in estimating the age-at-death of sub-adults, however late formation and M3 eruption proves useful in late adolescents and young adults determination. Gray (1995:864) writes that the “eruption of permanent teeth in the jaw takes place at [intervals]. The teeth of the lower jaw preceding those of the upper”. For M3, which White and Folkens (2005) argue are “the most variable of all teeth” this generally occurs between the 17th and 25th years (Grey 1995:864). In assessing the maxilla of this cranium all permanent teeth have erupted, and have reached normal occlusion. LM1 and LM3 had been lost prior to death, noted by the fusion of alveolus. RM3 is reduced in size and “peg shaped” (Brown 2013). LI1 is also missing posthumously. Brown (2013) notes that amalgam restorations are present on the occlusal surfaces of RP1, RP2 and RM1, RM2, as well as LC1, LP1,LP2 and LM2. He further notes the probability of LM3 being congenitally absent.

  • Occlusal Surfaces

Once a permanent tooth erupts it begins to wear. White and Folkens (2005:365) note that studies (McKeee and Molner 1988, Walker 1991 Richards and Miller 1991) indicate that patterns and rates of wear are “governed by tooth developmental sequences, tooth morphology, tooth size, internal crown structure, tooth angulation, nondietary tooth use, the biomechanics of chewing and diet”. This means that should wear rates for any uniform population remain reasonably consistent, it could prove indicative of wear rate relative to age. Novotony et al. (1993:73) provide the assessment that when exclusively using occlusal assessment for age estimation, caution must be maintained. They quote Lovejoy (1985:56) as saying that “assignment of age on the basis of dental wear alone would allow only a gross approximation at best”. Mindful of these limitations, evaluation using this method proposes the age-at death of this individual as approximately 24-30 years of age (Band E)

74

Figure 1.2: Age-phase of dental wear in the maxilla (top) and mandible (bottom) (modified from Lovejoy, 1985:49-50 (Discussion in text); Novotmy et al. 1993:73)

  • Palatal sutures

Mann et al. (1991:781) proposed an age estimation method based on the “macroscopic examination of the hard palate for general morphological features and pattern of suture obliteration … increase[d] age [causes] the sutures [to] become shallow and narrow, and most are obliterated completely or in part”. The method uses four sutures of the maxilla: incisive (IN), anterior median palatine (AMP), transverse palatine (TP), and posterior median palatine (PMP). While originally administered by measuring obliteration amounts using a sliding caliper and converting this to a percent for the entire suture (Mann et al. 1987), revised methodologies removed physical measurement, focusing on visual inspections from which general age estimates are derived resultant on observable obliteration patterns. Appearance, although possible obscured, suggests that there is a complete closure of the incisive suture and the transverse palatine as well as a partial closure of the Posterior Median Palatine. The Anterior Median Palatine remains open. This would indicate a possible age between 20 and 34 years of age.

 

 75  76

Image 1.3: (Left) Occlusal view of the maxillary teeth of the human cranium (Brown 2013). (Right) Illustration showing maxillary suture lines (Buikstra and Ubelaker 1994).

  • Spheno-occiptal synchondrosis (basal suture, basilar suture)

The Spheno-occiptal synchondrosis is formed by the junction of the basilar surface of the occipital bone and the posterior surface of the body of the sphenoid. During the early stages of life a thin cartilaginous plate exists between these bones which later fuses (Grey, 1995:71). This fusion is usually perceived indicate of cranial growth cessation and occurs around 20 years of age, but may occur as early as 13-14 years (Brown 2013). Krogman and Iscan (1986 cited White and Folkens 2005:361) assert that 95% of individuals exhibit fusion at this site between the ages of 20 and 25 years of age with a central tendency of 23 years. In this cranium, the spheno-occipital synchondrosis is either completely closed or obscured due to the moulding process. Assuming its closure would suggest an age of at least 20 years.

 77  

Image 1.4: Basilar part of occipital bone (Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Basilar_part_of_occipital_bone_-_animation04.gif)

 

  1. Partial human facial skeleton

 

 78  

Image 2.1: Facial skeleton. All broken, and missing, areas of bone are the result of postmortem Damage (Brown 2013)

 

  • Suture Closure

Insufficient cranial surface remains to determine age through sites on the Ectocranium. Examination of the palatal sutures are suggestive of a complete incisive suture closure as well as a partial Transverse Palatine and Posterior Median Palatine closure. This is suggestive of a young adult likely between the ages of 20 and 34 years.

 

 79  

Image 2.2: Occlusal view of the maxillary teeth of the facial skeleton. All broken, and missing, areas of bone are the result of postmortem damage.

  • Dentition

Congruous with Brown’s (2013) assessment, observations record that all permanent teeth have erupted in the maxilla, and reached normal occlusion. While considerable occlusal wear exists on all teeth, the appearance of the M3 occlusal surface, specifically noting RM3, suggests a recently completed eruption is only. M3 are the last permanent teeth to erupt and usually reach full occlusion between 18-21 years.

 

This Partial human facial skeleton, as a result of Hypersiloid Palatal shaping, and the identification of shovel shaped upper incisors, is suspected of belonging to an individual of Aboriginal descent (Molnar 1990:390). Brown (2013) notes, early European descriptions of Aboriginal dentition emphasized both relative size and occlusal wear resultant of an abrasive diet requiring prolonged mastication, and their use of their teeth as tools that rapidly removed dental hard tissue. Brown (2011:157) notes that even in contemporary societies, “in Aboriginal people living a traditional lifestyle, occlusal wear was continuous and often extensive”. Brown (2013) goes on to say that, in persons of Australian Indigenous heritage, this frequently resulted in “tooth loss through acute wear [which] could be expected from about 35 years of age onward”. Based on size, eruption, occlusal wear, and tooth loss expectations it is plausible to suggest that this individual was between the ages of 21 and 35 but possible older. Occlusal wear patterns are extreme and under normal circumstances could indicate advanced age (45+).

 

  1. Mandibles

In both mandibles the mental foramen opens midway between the upper and lower borders of the bone, and the mandibular canal runs nearly parallel with the mylohyoid line. The ramus is almost vertical in direction, the angles measuring between 110° and 120° (Grey 1995:65-71), also noticeable is the difference which exists in the height of the condyle and the depth of the sigmoid notch corresponding to the development in age. Expectations would be for both these mandibles to belong to young adults.

 80

Image 3.1 Mandible at different Ages (Biswas 2012:62)

  • Mandible 1

Dention

All teeth in the mandible, inclusive of M3 have erupted and show signs of significant occlusal wear. Following the argument in Section 2.3, Dentition of the Partial human facial skeleton, mandible 1 is suspected of being belonging to an individual of Aboriginal descent. Similarly this could suggest that this individual was between the ages of 21 and 35 but possible older. Occlusal wear under normal circumstances could indicate advanced age (45+). It should also be noted the appearance of what could be Periodontosis, or gingival regression, resulting from “the degeneration of the soft tissue surrounding the tooth” (Prince 2002:107).

 

 48  49

Image 3.2: Occlusal view of the teeth of mandible 1 (Left) Posterior view of the symphysis and incisor teeth view of mandible 1 (Right) (Brown 2013)

  • Mandible 2

Dentition

Amalgam restorations are present on the occlusal surfaces of LPM1, LM1 and LM2 as RM1 and RM2. LPM2 and RPM2 were lost well before death, with the alveolus for both teeth fused. LM3 is impacted into the root of LM2. Red wax visible on the crown of the LM2 was used to restore the broken crown prior to casting (Brown 2013). In reference to Figure 1.2 It is likely that this mandible would belong to Group band F giving an approximated age of 30-35 years. Following the suggestions of Brothwell (1981:17) in regard to assessing interlocking of occlusion it could be surmised that this mandible belongs to the full cranium provided.

 83  84

Image 3.3:  (Left) Occlusal view of the teeth of mandible 2. (Right) A micro CT (computer tomography) slice taken through the teeth and alveolar bone of mandible 2. Note the impacted third molar, lying on its side and growing towards the second molar, on the right side of the tooth row (Brown 2013).

 

  1. Pubic Symphysis

The pubic symphysis is frequently used in age-at-death determination since it undergoes surface, age-related changes that continue long after adult stature has been achieved. Meindl and Lovejoy (1981:138) accord this method of dating to be “universally … more reliable than other criteria”, a belief more likely attributed to notions of limited reliability at other sites, coupled with the clear and distinct, age-related changes occurring in the pubic symphysis  (Meindl et al. 1985), and their late-occurrance compared to observations of epiphyseal fusion and dental formation. The Todd ten-phase system (1920:256-258) describes the modal appearance of each phase and provides discrete age intervals per phase. These ten phases are essentially identical regardless of sex or race. In testing the Todd system, Brooks (1955:588) obtained results consistently over-aging male and female pubic symphyses. The most commonly used method of pubic symphyseal age estimation was devised by S. Brooks and J.M Suchy in 1990. This method, following the determination of gender, relies on correlations between researchers visual, assessments of the pubic symphyseal surface and a series of casts. Taking the above details into consideration it could be determined that the age-at deaths for each bone are as follows:

Number 9  – Early to mid-20s with a likely age of 25 years

Number 10 – Late 20s into early 30s with a likely age of 30 years

Number 11 – Mid to late 30s age group with an approximated age of 37 years

Pubic Symphysis
 

Bone Number

Age Range  

Pubic Surface

Margins   Extremities  
Todd Suchey Brooks Ventral Dorsal Upper Lower
9 25-29 P2

19-40

Ridges and furrows reduced Bevel present Plateau present undefined Pertly defined
10 30-34 P3

21-53

Granular appearance Rampart complete Plateau complete Starts forming Continues forming
11 45-49 P4

23-70

Erosion? Irregular lipping Regular lipping Fully formed Fully formed

Table 4.1: Observations pubic symphysis morphology

 

   

 85  86

Image 4.1 Pubic Symphysis (Left) Bone number 10, (Right) Bone number 11 (Brown 2013)

 

 88  89

Figure 4.2: Todd (1920) method for scoring pubic symphysis morphology (Right to left, Row 1 Phases 1-3; Row 2 Phases 4-5, Row 3 Phases 6-7, Row 4 Phases 8-10) (Brooks 1955:590-93) (Verbal explanation refer Suchy et al. 1986:135-35, Todd 1920:256-258)

 90  91  92  93  94  95

Figure 4.3 Suchy Brooks 6 phase (Left Phase 1 to Right Phase 6) (Dedouit et al.)

Females Males
Stage Mean Standard Deviation Range 95% Mean Standard Deviation Range 95%
1 19.4 2.6 15-24 18.9 2.3 15-23
2 25 4.9 19-40 24.7 4.3 19-35
3 30.7 8.1 21-53 28.8 5.9 22-43
4 38.2 10.9 26-70 36.8 9.6 23-59
5 48.1 14.6 25-83 51 13.6 28-78
6 60 12.4 42-87 62.7 12.4 36-87

Table 4.2: Data determining age (Dedouit et al.)

  

  1. Ulna

The ulna is the longest and thinnest bone in the forearm. It articulates proximally with the trochlea of the humerus and the head of the radius. Distally it articulates with the ulnar notch of the radius and with an articular disk that separates it from the carpal bones (White & Fokens 2005: 219).

 

Author

(with year)

 

Subjects

Fusion in years Y-M-D
           Ulna
Females Males
Davis Parsons (1927) English
Paterson (1929) English 19-20 21
Sindos and Derr (1931) Egyptians 19-20
Galstaun (1937) Bengalis / Indian 17 18.5
Flecker (1942) Australians 17 19
Greulich and Pyle (1942) White American of Upper Socioeconomic class 17 18
Mackay (1952) East Africans
Hansman (1962) Americans 16 18
Krogman (1962) English
Rikhasor M and Qure- shi (1991) Pakistanis 15.5 17.5
Present study (2008) Pakistanis 15-10-00 16-09-00

Table 5.1: A comparison of lines of fusion dates for different authors (Memnon et al., 2012:67)

  • Ulna 1

The bone length of ulna 1 indicates that is was retrieved from an individual in excess of 12 years of age. This concurs with the examination of Epiphyseal union of the proximal ulna, which Brown (2013) suggests occurs at 14.5-15.5 years of age and the distal ulna at 18-19 years. Fusion at both these sites confirms this individual as an adult. No other age determination has been made from this bone other than greater than 19 years of age.

 

 96  

Image 5.1 Proximal articular surface of ulna 1 (Brown 2013)

  • Ulna 2

The appearance of lesions, likely osteomyelitis, caused by bacteria that initially enter the bone via a wound and resulting in bone inflammation (White and Folkens 2005:318). Similar to ulna 1 length and examination of epiphyseal union showing fusion dates this individual as an adult. No other age determination has been made from this bone other than greater than 19 years of age.

 

 97  98

Image 5.2 Lesion on the proximal end of ulna 2 (Left) Lesion on the mid-shaft of ulna 2 (cut mark postmortem) (Right) (Brown 2013).

 

  1. Conclusion

Research in skeletal age estimation is a continuously evolving process in the fields of forensic anthropology, paleodemography, and bioarchaeology, where accuracy remains a central precept. Diverse sequences of chronological alterations affect skeletal bones resulting in age determination remaining one of the more arduous and error prone procedures conducted by biological anthropologists. This led researchers toward attempt to discover, understand, and quantify the limits of these errors. While this ambition aids in contextualizing studies and results, it is important to remember that numerous factors affect the accuracy of skeletal age-at-death dating stemming from variations existent in the rate and timing of an individual’s development. As proposed earlier, the strongest estimations are those reliant on attaining age intervals from multiple methods, and conscious of the strengths and weaknesses of each contributing method.

Because the efficiency of age-at-death determination relies on the interrelationship between biological characteristics and chronological age, progressive bone development in sub- and young adults is more likely to be dated precisely. These groups are better documented and include factors such as tooth development and eruption, epiphyseal closure, primary ossification centers, and bone length measurement. Byers (2005:174) explains that “starting in the time period between 18 and 25 years of age, the skeleton finishes maturation and begins a slow process of deterioration that continues through adulthood. Estimates based on these changes are not as accurate or as easy to apply as are those for sub-adults”. Adult bone changes are typically degenerative and frequently influenced by physical activities and general health of the individual, which may lead to a flawing of adult results from certain bias in age estimates, referred to as ‘‘attraction of the middle’’ (Prince 2008:5781). This means that, tendencies exist toward overestimating ages in younger individuals while underestimating those of older individuals such that estimations favors the mean age rather than representing the chronological age.

A further problem is that most skeletal aging methods rely on specific populations, primarily, Caucasian, Negroid and Mongoloid peoples external to Australia, and that available literature includes a heavy preponderance of material focused on European and American based groups. This results in collected data failing to for account populations with alternate ethnic backgrounds and causes additional variation to aging methods when applied to skeletal remains of unknown, inspecific or alternate ancestry.

A final complication leading to further uncertainty is derived from the ranges dividing the age continuum. Skeletal age-at-death assessment does not provide an exact age, rather it is banded into age classes, such as 23-45 years or 21-42 years. Large age ranges associated with most phase-oriented methods are demonstrated by the large confidence intervals around the mean age-at-death for a particular phase. White and Fokens (2005:364) note that this “dividing [of the] continuum leads to imprecision”. For this reason they suggest that determining age-at-death is a complex process involving arbitrary growth continuum divisions and that individuals of identical chronological age can exhibit different developmental stages.

While all due care and attention has been maintained in the assessment of these bones and the preparation of this report, basing assessment on any single technique at a given location provides a large degree of uncertainty.

 

References

Biwas, G., 2012. Review of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers, New Delhi, India.

Brooks, S.T., 1955. Skeletal age at death: the reliability of cranial and pubic age indicators. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Vol. 13 pp. 567-589.

Brothwell, D.R., 1981. Digging up Bones. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Brown , P., 2013. ARPA336 Forensic Anthropology Course Book, University of New England, Armidale.

Brown, T., 2011. Yuendumu: Legacy of a Longitudinal Growth Study in Central Australia. University of Adelaide Press, South Australia.

Byers, S.N., 2011. Introduction to Forensic Anthropology, 4th Edn. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Dedouit, F., Telmon, N., Joffre, F., Rousseau, H., and Rouge, D., Age at Death Assessment: The Pubic Symphysis. Hospital Rangueil-Larry, Toulouse. http://www.lirmm.fr/ODENT/MEETING.0608/dedouit.interdisciplinary.0608.pdf

Grey, H., 1995. Greys Anatomy, 15th Edn. Barns & Noble, New York, NY.

Lovejoy, C.O., 1985. Dental Wear in the Libben Population: Its Functional Pattern and Role in the Determination of Adult Skeletal Age at Death. American Journal of Physical Anthropology vol. 68, Iss. 1, pp. 7-56

Mann, R.W., Jantz, R.L., Bass, W.M., and Willey, P.S., 1991. Maxillary Suture Obliteration: Visual Method for Estimating Skeletal Age. Journal of Forensic Sciences. vol. 36, Iss. 3, pp. 781-791

Meindl, R.S., and Lovejoy, C.O., 1985a. Ectocranial Suture Closure: A Revised Method for the Determination of Skeletal Age at Death Based on the Lateral-Anterior Sutures. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 68, pp. 57-66.

Meindl, R.S., and Lovejoy, C.O., Mensforth, R.P. and Walker, R.A., 1985b. A Revised Method of Age Determination using the Os Pubis, with a review and tests of accuracy of other current methods. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 68, pp.28-45.

Memnon, N., Memnon, M.U., Memnon, K., Junejo, H., and Memnon, J., 2012. Radiological Indicators for Determination of Age of Concent ans Criminal Responsibility. Journal of Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (JLUMHS), Jamshoro, Pakistan. Vol. 11, Iss. 2, pp.64-70

Molnar, Stephen, 1990. Dental Arch Shape and Tooth Wear Variability. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 82.  pp. 385-395.

Novotny, V., Iscan, M.Y. and Loth, S.R. 1993. Morphological and osteometric assessment of age, sex and race from the skull. In M. Iscan and R. Helmer (eds.) Forensic Analysis of the Skull. Wiley-Liss: New York, pp. 71-88.

Prince, D.A. and Ubelaker D.H., 2002. Application of Lamendin’s Adult Dental Aging Technique to a Diverse Skeletal Sample Journal of Forensic Sciences. vol. 47  Iss. 1, pp. 107-116

Prince, D.A. and Konigsberg, L.W., 2008. New Formulae for Estimating Age-at-Death in the Balkans Utilizing Lamendin’s Dental Technique and Bayesian Analysis. Journal Forensic Science. Vol. 53, Iss. 3, pp. 578-587.

Suchey, J.M., Wisely, D.V. and Katz, D. 1986. Evaluation of the Todd and McKern-Stewart methods for aging the male Os pubis, in K. Reichs (ed.) Forensic Osteology. Advances in the identification of human remains. Charles Thomas: Springfield, pp. 33-67.

Todd, T.W., 1920. Age Changes in the Pubic Bone. American Journal of Physical Anthropology vol.16, Iss. 2, pp. 285-334.

White, T.D., Folkens, P.A., 2005. The Human Bone Manual. Academic Press, Burlington, MA.

  

Appendix 2

 

Todds 10 phase

99

Stages Age Ranges
1 18-19
2 20-21
3 22-24
4 25-26
5 27-30
6 30-35
7 35-39
8 39-44
9 45-50
10 50+

 

 

A

Hyperbolic Palatal shaping the identification of shovel shaped upper incisors suggest that this Partial human facial skeleton is not of Asian of White ancestry.

100

Figure 4.3 Model Pubic bones showing McKern-Stewarts three component system (Suchy et al. 1986)

 

Appendix 1

 

 

Ridge and Furrow System Symphyseal Face Nodules and Lipping Ventral Margin Dorsal Margin Age
Phase 1    horizontal ridges, seperated by grooves rugged not present no distinct presence no distinct presence 18-19
Phase 2 ridges become filled with new bone still rugged may be present ventral bevel commences begins to develop 20-21
Phase 3 progressive obliteration progressive obliteration of ridges on face may be present ventral bevel more pronounced sharp lipping 22-24
Phase4 great increase in ventral bevel complete definition through dorsal platform 25-26
Phase 5 little change in face apperance no intervention of bony nodules between upper and lower extremity formation clearly defined, sharp lipping clearly defined, sharp lipping 27-30
Phase 6 slight rigde and furron system some granular appearance on face no lipping no increased lipping 30-35
Phase 7 granular bone change to fine-grained dense bone (slight, due to diminished activity) no ossification of tendon and ligament attatchment changes on margin correspond to face 35-39
Phase 8    smooth, no distinct rim (inactive)                   muscles development of ossification in tendon and ligament sites, most notable the sacro-tuberous and gracille generally smooth, no marked lipping no marked lipping 40-45
Phase 9    marked rim irregual lipping uniform lipping 45-49
Phase 10 errosion of face due to ventral margin errosion irregular ossification margin erroded 50+

Adapted from Suchy et al. 1986:135-136

[1] Probability of concordance (Meindl and Lovejoy 1985a:61