Forensic age estimation in human skeletal remains: current concepts and future directions.
Skeletal identification has a long tradition in both physical and forensic anthropology. The process generally begins with formulation of a biological profile (osteobiography); specifically, estimation of sex, age, ethnicity and stature. The present paper briefly reviews a selection of the principal methods used for one aspect of the identification process; the estimation of personal age. It is well-documented that variability in the morphological features used to assess age in the human skeleton progressively increases from birth to old age. Thus choice of method is inherently related to whether unidentified remains are those of a juvenile or an adult. This review, therefore, considers methods appropriate for age estimation in both juvenile and adult remains; the former being primarily based on developmental, and the latter degenerative, morphological features. Such a review is timely as new methods are constantly being developed, concurrent with refinements to those already well established in mainstream anthropology.