International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 132, Issue 5, pp 1447–1455 | Cite as

A test and analysis of Calce (2012) method for skeletal age-at-death estimation using the acetabulum in a modern skeletal sample

  • David NavegaEmail author
  • Maria Godinho
  • Eugénia Cunha
  • Maria Teresa Ferreira
Original Article


In forensic anthropology, the age-at-death of an adult individual is one of the most complex parameters of the biological profile to estimate. The present study aims to evaluate the reliability of the Calce (2012) method for the estimation of age-at-death through acetabulum changes in a sample of Portuguese origin. This method consists of the global analysis of acetabular age-related morphology with focus on three specific traits, namely the acetabular groove, the osteophyte development of the acetabular rim, and the apex growth. This method was tested in 120 individuals sampled from the Twenty-first Century Identified Skeletal Collection (University of Coimbra, Portugal). The test sample is composed of 60 males and 60 females, aged between 25 and 99 years, with well-preserved os coxae. The results showed that only 60% of the individuals were correctly attributed to the age group defined by the technique. The comparison with previous studies in other populations shows significant inter-population differences in the relationship between the acetabulum variables used by Calce and age-at-death. The obtained results advise caution in the use of the Calce (2012) method to estimate the age-at-death of unidentified skeletons.


Forensic anthropology Age-at-death estimation Portuguese population Acetabulum Calce’s method 


Funding information

The co-authors David Navega [SFRH/BD/99676/2014] and Maria Teresa Ferreira [SFRH/BPD/11710/2015] were financed by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology, Centre for Functional Ecology, Department of Life SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Laboratório de Antropologia Forense, Departamento de Ciências da VidaUniversidade de CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel SalazarUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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