Evaluation and reliability of bone histological age estimation methods

  • I. Khan
  • M. M. A. Jamil
  • F. M. Nor
Keywords: human, bones, microstructures, digital images, age, forensic, osteoarchaeology.


Human age estimation at death plays a vital role in forensic anthropology and bioarchaeology. Researchers used morphological and histological methods to estimate human age from their skeletal remains. This paper discussed different histological methods that used human long bones and ribs to determine age estimations. The applicability of those methods, commonly quantified variables, sample size, sampling method and their accuracy are discussed as well. The review of those methods showed that the nature of research for estimating age at death has been shifted from gross morphological analysis to histological analysis, and its further going towards the use of digital image processing tools to achieve high accuracy. Histological methods based on the analysis of bone cross-sections showed that there is a strong correlation between increasing age and bone microstructures. Frequently analyzed bone microstructures are osteon and haversian canal and their derivatives. Even though researchers have achieved a satisfactory level of accuracy in young individuals, yet the estimating of age in older individuals is the challenging part. It is expected that the ongoing research and future studies will find its way to achieve high level of accuracy in both young and older individuals.

Keywords: human; bones; microstructures; digital images; age; forensic; osteoarchaeology.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1112-9867