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Algorithm Quantifies What Experts See When They Examine Skeletons

NCJ Number
301532
Date Published
August 2021
Length
3 pages
Agencies
NIJ
Annotation

This article presents research on the development of an open-access computer program for estimating the age of skeletal remains.

Abstract

This article details how National Institute of Justice-funded researchers from Pennsylvania State University created an open-access computer program for estimating the age of skeletal remains that outperforms current methods. Unlike its human counterparts, the algorithm is standardized and provides reproducible estimates of adult skeletal age at death that could be used as evidence in court. When tested with known-age skeletal collections, the program more accurately predicted age than traditional methods based on ilium and sacrum observations. The researchers say their open-access computer program and accompanying manual can be used by nearly any forensic practitioner to accurately age skeletal remains based on “yes” or “no” questions about 20 bony traits.

Date Created: July 22, 2021