Volume 31, Issue 1 (January 1986)
Determination of Age from the Sternal Rib in White Males: A Test of the Phase Method
The effectiveness of a given age determination technique can better be assessed by testing the standards on unknown specimens. A test of this nature was carried out to evaluate the authors' previously published phase method for age estimation from the sternal extremity of the rib. A sample of 15 test ribs was judged by 25 physical and forensic anthropologists with varying levels of education and experience. The judges were asked to match the rib to the phase it most closely resembled by comparing it with the photographs from the original study. The results indicated that interobserver error based on experience was minimal, and nearly all of the participants averaged within one phase of the ideal. Variation appeared to be greater among the ribs than among the judges, yet no consistent association could be made between this variation and factors such as cause of death, antemortem medical history, drug or alcohol abuse, and occupation.