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Lecture 24

FORS 3331 Lecture 24: Dr. Ferraro - FORS 3331 - Spring 2017 - Lecture 24

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Baylor University
Forensic Science
FORS 3331
Joseph V.Ferraro

Baker | FORS 3331 | Spring 2017 | Lecture 24 | Page 1 LECTURE 24: STATURE AND AGE – In this lecture we’ll learn how to estimate the stature and age-at-death of individuals – This is just a gloss over of the basics o Could easily take 4-5 lectures to cover this material o If you’d like to learn more we’re offering ANT/FORS 4355 (Forensic Anthropology) in the fall semester – Humans vary in height/stature as a function of several factors: o Age o Diet o Ancestry o Genetics o DNA o Stature is also sexually dimorphic trait • Females are an energetically optimal size • Males are too big for their own good but it pays off because they are more successfully sexual – Muggsy Bogues (5ft 3in) and Manute Bol (7ft 7) both played basketball for the Washington Bullets in the 1980s o Two very different guys with very different heights o Bol had a slightly larger head and a slightly longer torso o The biggest difference between the two is in their legs Estimating Stature – Lower limbs give much better height estimates than upper limbs – Relatively straightforward methodology – Possible to assess stature using almost any bone o The quality (accuracy) varies greatly though – Take bone length measurements using an osteometric board and plug the result into formulae specific to sex and/or ancestry o Note: remember from pre-algebra class that you multiply before adding o Example: we'll plug our TL (Total Length) into the humerus formula ▪ 3.08 x TL + 70.45 ▪ (3.08 x 30) + 70.45 = 162.85 cm ▪ 162.85cm/2.54 = 64.11 inches ▪ .11in -> 5ft 4in – On the tibia, exclude the medial malleolus – For the femur, line up the shaft with the board o Condyles shouldn't both be touching Estimating Age – Aging is like the show Fixer Upper in reverse o Who here's never seen the show? Okay, well they take a crappy house, spend way too much money fixing it up and making it way too nice for the neighborhood. Then they list it for a super high price where it sits on the market forever because no one can afford it. That's the basic premise. – In ontogeny (growth and development) across your life span, your body is like the opposite of a Fixer Upper episode o As a youngster (<25 or so), you'll slowly construct a beautiful body Baker | FORS 3331 | Spring 2017 | Lecture 24 | Page 2 ▪ Skeletally, this is the best it'll ever get so enjoy it now while you can! o Time/mother nature/natural selection will soon conspire against you to tear it down o By the end of the episode (i.e. life) you'll be left with a totally junky busted up house – We build our skeletons at a fixed rate o You can measure age/growth very easily o Can't will your skeleton not to grow o Can do a sonogram on a pregnant lady, measure its limbs, and know the fetus' age down to ±2 days – We can use the state of construction and/or destruction to estimate the age-at-death of individuals o As we'll see, this will be relatively easy for youngsters, as construction sequence and rates are fairly standardized ▪ I.e. largely under genetic control with limited standard deviations ▪ Age estimates here can often be refined to a few months especially for very young infants (0-3 years old) o It gets more complicated once the skeleton fuses in its early 20s ▪ House/skeleton breakdown is much more variable so there's often huge standard deviation ( 30 years) – After about 18-20 years the task becomes much harder o With kids you can measure presence of bones, teeth, bone fusion, etc. but adult ages are much more subjective because wear and tear has a lot of inter-observer differences of objectives o By adulthood, the "house" is built, the teeth are in place, all of the bones are fused, and we're forced to estimate age based largely on wear and tear o Damage is highly variable and is dependent on individuals activities, behaviors, histories, diet, health, and (to a minor extent) genetics – The degree of difficulty can also be compounded by the "completeness" of the materials – Heads and hips will be key o These have an abundance of known regular variation (i.e. these bones change with age) o
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