Volume 37, Issue 3 (May 1992)
Evaluation of Cast Methods for Estimating Age from the Os Pubis
Age-related changes of the public symphysis have gained wide acceptance among physical anthropologists as one basis for estimating adult skeletal age. However, these methods have not been tested by independent observers on large samples with known ages at death that represent contemporary populations. In this study 202 female and 116 male pairs of pubes collected at autopsy were blindly evaluated for age using the McKern-Stewart or Gilbert-McKern and Suchey-Brooks methods. Performance of the methods was measured by mean absolute deviation of true age from scored interval means and frequencies of true age falling within ±1 and ±2 standard deviations from the mean. The results suggest that the Suchey-Brooks methods are superior in forensic applications and that the racially specific refinement for males should be used. Age estimates should include ±2 standard deviations, and chances of error should be considered, especially when advanced age or debilitation is suspected.