Volume 36, Issue 4 (July 1991)
A Test of the Auricular Surface Aging Technique
A recently developed technique used in the estimation of age at death is based upon the metamorphosis of the auricular surface of the ilium. This technique was designed to be used in seriation to estimate the age distribution of a skeletal sample. However, the technique has also been used in forensic science cases, which must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis.
The present study examines the use of the auricular surface technique as the single aging factor. Two hypotheses are tested using a sample of 189 individuals drawn from the Terry Collection, housed at the Smithsonian Institution. The hypotheses are (1) is the method equally applicable across race and sex, and (2) how well does the method perform as the single aging factor?
The results indicate that the amount of degenerative change in the auricular surface is not dependent upon race or sex in any given age category. However, the rate of degenerative change is too variable to be used as a single criterion for the estimation of age; the range of estimation error is simply too large for forensic science purposes.