Volume 50, Issue 4 (July 2005)
Assessing Age-Related Morphology of the Pubic Symphysis from Digital Images Versus Direct Observation
The increasingly global role of a forensic anthropologist necessitates a proper means for archiving evidence for re-examination. Large quantities of evidence can be stored and be made readily accessible through digital imaging. This study focuses on age assessment from digital photographs for personal identity reconstructions. A comparison of 52 Suchey-Brooks scores assigned to digital images and actual bone revealed that age assessment from digital images can be completed with accuracy. Coefficients of concordance imply that there significant agreement between osteological assessment of aging criteria from digital images and direct observation—greater than random change alone (p<0.05). However, assessments from images should be approached with caution since there are inherent limitations of the naked eye in identifying morphological changes in certain skeletal features, especially where older adults are concerned. Although there is no replacement for a hands-on physical assessment, a digital archive may facilitate the global needs of the forensic anthropologist.