Original Article

Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 148-154

First online:

Age estimation and the medial clavicular epiphysis: analysis of the age of majority in an Australian population using computed tomography

  • Richard B. BassedAffiliated withVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University Email author 
  • , Olaf H. DrummerAffiliated withVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University
  • , Christopher BriggsAffiliated withVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash UniversityDepartment of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Melbourne
  • , Aurora ValenzuelaAffiliated withDepartment of Forensic medicine and Forensic Odontology, University of Grenada

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Abstract

This study was designed in order to assess the suitability of clavicular development in discriminating whether or not an individual has reached the age of 18 years. The development of the medial clavicular epiphysis was examined in an Australian population using computed tomography as the imaging modality. The sample consisted of individuals who were admitted to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Melbourne, Australia, for the purposes of medico-legal death investigation. Comparisons were made with similar studies conducted on different populations in other countries, which revealed that the Australian population reaches maturity earlier, and the level of left/right asymmetry is higher than in other studies. The high degree of variation in fusion times is discussed, and the consequent effect upon the ability to use this epiphysis as a tool for determining if an individual has reached the age of 18 years is analysed. If an individual in this population has completely fused clavicles at stage 5, then for males they will be at least 18 years of age, with a 99% certainty of being at least 21, and for females they will be at least 20 years old. If at stage three then an individual of either sex will be at least 17 years of age.

Keywords

Forensic science Forensic anthropology Medial clavicular epiphysis Age estimation Age of majority