Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geography and Anthropology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The ability to produce age estimations for adult skeletons has been a focus of forensic anthropologists for decades. Most age estimation methods for adult remains provide age ranges that are too narrow, too broad, or too vague. This project sought to combine 3D scans with GIS to produce morphological maps of the auricular surface of the os coxa in order to identify quantifiable characteristics for age assessment that could be used for generating narrower age range estimates for older adult remains.

A NextEngine ™ HD Desktop 3D scanner was used to scan the auricular surfaces of 384 os coxae from the Hamann-Todd Human Osteological Collection. ScanStudio HD Pro™ software processed the 3D scans and produced xyz coordinate points. From the total sample, a subset of 200 os coxae were chosen for further analysis as the test sample. ESRI ArcGIS ™ was used to create digital elevation maps (DEMs) for each os coxa of the test sample. Three features on the ox coxa were selected for analysis: exostoses on the retroauricular area, apical change, and macroporosity on the auricular surface. The test sample was divided into seven groups by 10-year age increments (20-29, 30-39…70-79, 80+). The three variables of interest (VOI) and age groups were analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA). The ANOVA results did not reveal significant differences between age groups and the three VOI. A second ANOVA test was conducted on the test sample separated by sex. The results did not yield significant differences between age groups and the three VOI in the female sample. However, significant differences were found for the male sample between age groups and the mean slope of exostoses on the retroauricular surface (p = 0.0145). No significant differences were found for the male sample between age groups and the remaining variables.

Although significance was found with only one variable for the male sample, this study demonstrates the ability to combine 3D scans with GIS to evaluate morphological changes in the auricular surface. These findings suggest further testing with higher resolution scanners may capture more detail producing characteristics that can be quantified for age assessment.

Committee Chair

Listi, Ginesse

Available for download on Wednesday, March 15, 2023

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