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Estimating age of mature adults from the degeneration of the sternal end of the clavicle

Falys, C. G. and Prangle, D. (2014) Estimating age of mature adults from the degeneration of the sternal end of the clavicle. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 156 (2). pp. 203-214. ISSN 1096-8644

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22639


The sternal end of the clavicle has been illustrated to be useful in aging young adults, however, no studies have investigated what age-related changes occur to the sternal end post epiphyseal fusion. In this study, three morphological features (i.e., surface topography, porosity, and osteophyte formation) were examined and scored using 564 clavicles of individuals of European ancestry (n = 318 males; n = 246 females), with known ages of 40+ years, from four documented skeletal collections: Hamann-Todd, Pretoria, St. Bride's, and Coimbra. An ordinal scoring method was developed for each of the three traits. Surface topography showed the strongest correlation with age, and composite scores (formed by summing the three separate trait scores) indicated progressive degeneration of the surface with increasing chronological age. Linear regression analyses were performed on the trait scores to produce pooled-sample age estimation equations. Blind tests of the composite score method and regression formulae on 56 individuals, aged 40+ years, from Christ Church Spitalfields, suggest accuracies of 96.4% for both methods. These preliminary results display the first evidence of the utility of the sternal end of the clavicle in aging older adult individuals. However, in the current format, these criteria should only be applied to individuals already identified as over 40 years in order to refine the age ranges used for advanced age. These findings do suggest the sternal end of the clavicle has potential to aid age estimates beyond the traditional "mature adult" age category (i.e., 46+ years), and provides several suggestions for future research.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics
ID Code:39478


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