Age estimation using the sacral auricular surface, sacral vertebral body fusion, and sacral vertebral ring incorporation
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Estimating age at death from the sacrum is largely understudied (Passalacqua 2009; Colarusso 2015). The present study aims to expand on existing research of both developmental and degenerative changes of the sacrum that occur in adulthood. Observations were made at the W.M. Bass Collection located in Knoxville, TN (n=326). Features of the sacral auricular surface studied include micro- and macroporosity, coarse granularity, dense bone, and lipping at apices. These traits were scored and resulted in the development of composite scoring system. Fusion of the sacral vertebral bodies at the first and second anterior junction and the incorporation of the sacral vertebral ring were also observed and scored on ordinal scales. Spearman rank correlation tests demonstrated positive correlation between chronological age and the observed skeletal traits. The research presented here demonstrates that the sacrum exhibits age-related changes, although the age intervals presented are not useful in a forensic setting.