Differences between biological and chronological age-at-death in human skeletal remains: A change of perspective.
- Lourdes R Couoh
- American journal of physical anthropology
BACKGROUND Numerous dental reference data exist to estimate age from developing permanent teeth. AIM To compare the performance of reference data that provide a point estimate using the developing second molar. METHODS Performance of several methods estimating age using mandibular second molar formation was compared using the Maber test sample (age = 3-16) of 946 dental radiographs. Mean difference and mean absolute difference between dental and chronological ages were calculated. The percentage of individuals with mean absolute difference <1 year was counted across age group and tooth stage. Results for the choice of Demirjian or Moorrees tooth staging, pooled-sex, opposite sex reference data, selected stages (initial cusp tips, crown complete, root half and root complete) and statistical approaches were compared. RESULTS Tooth reference data conditioning on age, particularly probit mean age (age-at-transition) adapted for age prediction performed best. Results using sex-specific reference data, Moorrees stages and selected Moorrees stages were marginally better than other methods. No method performed well for ages 15 and 16 years. CONCLUSION Adapted maturity data L9a and N25a reference data for this tooth performed best across age categories and tooth stages, with a mean absolute difference of 0.8 year.