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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 210768 Find in a Library
Title: Assessing Age-Related Morphology of the Pubic Symphysis From Digital Images Versus Direct Observation
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:50  Issue:4  Dated:July 2005  Pages:791-795
Author(s): Myra L. Sitchon M.A.; Robert D. Hoppa Ph.D.
Date Published: July 2005
Page Count: 5
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study extended Hutchinson and Russell's approach of obtaining age estimates in morphological assessments through direct observation by examining the assessment of osteological age stages from digital images of the pubic symphysis.
Abstract: The study did not examine age estimation, since such determinations are directly derived from the stage-indicator data itself. Rather, the focus of the study was on the potential impact of using digital images to aid forensic and other anthropological investigations of human skeletal remains. A series of 52 pubic symphyses (38 males and 14 females) from the Grant collection at the University of Toronto were scored against the written descriptions and cast replicas of the different phases outlined by the Suchey-Brooks method. After all scoring was completed, digital images of the pubic symphyseal surface were captured by using an Olympus C3030 Zoom digital camera. Three months after the initial examination and scoring of the sample, the Suchey-Brooks phase was assessed by each author individually from the digital images. This evaluation of 52 Suchey-Brooks scores assigned to digital images and actual bone suggests that age assessments from images can be accurately done; however, errors can result from an inability to determine whether bone morphology shown in an image is characteristic of a stage of development or degeneration. Still, these errors are minimal, such that the use of digital images in forensic anthropology should not be discounted. The authors advise that although there is no replacement for a hands-on physical assessment, assessments based on two-dimensional images can be used to re-examine evidence. 5 figures and 27 references
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Age determination; Bone analysis; Forensic sciences; Homicide investigations; Investigative techniques; Photographic analyses; Victim identification
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