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Age and Sex Estimation From the Human Clavicle: An Investigation of Traditional and Novel Methods

NCJ Number
Natalie Renee Shirley
Date Published
May 2009
119 pages
This study examined differences in the skeletal maturation and structure of the human clavicle between males and females in the American population.
In the current study, significant secular trends were apparent in the onset of skeletal maturation, with modern Americans transitioning to fusion approximately 4 years earlier than early 20th century Americans and 3.5 years earlier than Korean War era Americans. The dynamic nature of human populations requires constant research in order to ensure the most rigorous standards and current practices are available for use. Age ranges derive from Bayesian statistics circumvent the issues of age mimicry and developmental outliers. Consequently, a Bayesian approach should be considered in future evaluation of subadult skeletal aging. Regarding gender differences in the structure of the clavicle, cross-validated accuracy rates of the best models were approximately 92 percent. Two new measurements of the lateral end proved to be useful gender estimators; whereas accuracy rates from the medial end were low. A statistical treatment that combined Principal Components Analysis and Fisher's Discriminant Ratio showed high magnitudes of curvature difference between males and females, particularly in the anterior and superior curvature of the midshaft and the posterior- oriented curvature of the lateral end. For the epiphyseal union study, clavicles from 1,289 individuals from cohorts spanning the 20th century were scored with 2 scoring systems. A simple three-phase scoring system proved the least subjective, while retaining accuracy levels. Linear regression was used to evaluate the sexing accuracy of three commonly used clavicular measurements and six newly developed measurements. In addition, a statistical clavicle atlas was used to examine size and shape. 7 tables, 28 figures, 149 references, and appended supplementary data