Estimation of age from human sternum: An autopsy study on a sample from South India

H. V. Chandrakanth, Tanuj Kanchan, Kewal Krishan, M. Arun, G. N.Pramod Kumar

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Abstract

Age estimation is one of the main parameters in the evaluation of skeletal remains in forensic anthropology casework. The present investigation is an attempt to study the fusion of manubrium and xiphoid process with mesosternum in 118 sterna (67 males and 51 females) of known age obtained during autopsy in South Indian population. The male samples were aged between 25 and 74 years and the females between 20 and 80 years. The fusion is studied to derive standards for the estimation of age from sternum. The results indicate that, with advancing age, the proportion of sternum with fusion of manubrio-mesosternal and mesosterno-xiphisternal junctions increases in males and females. A larger proportion of sterna showed fusion of mesosterno-xiphisternal junction than manubriomesosternal junction in different age groups. Fusion of manubrio-mesosternal and mesosterno-xiphisternal junctions was proportionately commoner in males than females. None of the sterna aged below 30 years showed fusion of mesosterno-xiphisternal junction. Nonfusion of mesosternoxiphisternal junction was reported till the age of 48 years in males and 46 years in females. Manubrio-mesosternal junction was observed to be very variable with regard to fusion status as the joint remained unfused even in the elderly ages. Based on the variability of the fusion of manubrio-mesosternal and mesosterno- xiphisternal junctions observed in the study, it can be concluded that the sternum alone is not reliable for estimation of age in South Indian population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-868
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Volume126
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01-11-2012
Externally publishedYes

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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