U.S. flag

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


NIJ-Funded Research Amasses Forensic Data to Help Analyze Skeletal Remains of the Young

      WASHINGTON – The Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today published an article discussing several NIJ-supported projects to better determine age, sex and population affinity of subadult skeletal remains.  Subadult refers to people whose ages range from birth to approximately age 20.

      Investigators confronted with subadult skeletal remains face several limits on what can be determined compared to examinations of adult skeletons.  A key question when the remains of a young person are found is the age-at-death.  The standard measures for determining age-at-death include long bone lengths, teeth and the fusion of growth plates in bones.  But those indicators are only useful during specific periods of a person’s growth and, in isolation, are limited in what they can reveal.

      To address the problem, NIJ is funding research that is being used to create a database of images and data from infants, children and adolescents that allows researchers to analyze in detail the biological profiles of a wide variety of samples from around the world.

      TITLE:  Meeting the Forensic Challenges of Subadult Skeletons

      AUTHOR:  National Institute of Justice

      HERE:  https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/meeting-forensic-challenges-subadult-skeletons

      To receive notifications of new NIJ publications, register here.

      The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law.  More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.


OFFICE:  nij.ojp.gov
CONTACT:  Sheila Jerusalem at 202-598-0793 or [email protected]

Date Published: June 23, 2022