U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Development of Modern Subadult Standards: Improved Age and Sex Estimation in U.S. Forensic Practice

NCJ Number
University of Nevada Reno
Date Published
19 pages

The findings and methodology are reported for a research project with the goal of collecting data from full-body computed tomography (CT) images generated at medical examiner’s offices in the United States for the purpose of developing single and multiple data- collection and analytical methods for estimating subadult age and sex in forensic applications.


The final sample (n=1,327) came from two geographically diverse medical examiner’s offices, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM) and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, Maryland (OCME). The sample of modern subadults between the ages of birth and 20 years old was diverse, with a wide range of variation, which increased the generalizability of the models. The three largest social race/ancestry groups in the sample are White (68 percent), American Indian (17 percent), and Black (11 percent). The OCME and UNM recorded Hispanics differently; the OCME considers it a social race group, and the UNM considers it an ethnicity. A total of 442 cases (33 percent) were recorded as Hispanic. The variables collected from each CT scan were appearance of ossification centers, epiphyseal union from the long bones and pelvis, and diaphyseal dimensions from the long bones. Both left and right sides were collected for all samples. Thirty-four 3D landmarks were collected on the ossa coxae of each individual for inter-landmark distances and geometric morphometric analyses. A seven-stage scoring system was used for the six long-bone epiphyses and calcaneal tuberosities. One of the most significant impacts of this research project was the development of a large virtual database of CT images of modern subadults. Although the development of the Subadult Virtual Anthropology Database (SVAD) was not a primary goal of this project, the research protocol led to its development. 6 figures, 4 tables, and 13 references