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J Forensic Sci. 1986 Jul;31(3):990-9.

Determination of age from the sternal rib in white females: a test of the phase method.


Sex differences in both the rate and pattern of aging in the sternal extremity of the rib necessitated the development of separate standards of age determination for males and females. A test of the male phase technique has already demonstrated its reliability and soundness. The present study was carried out to evaluate the female phase standards. A sample of 10 test ribs including 2 control specimens, was judged by 28 volunteers representing several levels of education and experience in the forensic and anthropological sciences. As in the male test, the judges were asked to assign each unknown rib to an age phase by comparing it with photographs of prototype specimens from the original study. Analysis of the results revealed minimal interobserver error between the doctoral and predoctoral groups, and no discernible association between morphological variation in the rib and antemortem history. Furthermore, rib assignment for both groups of judges averaged well within 1 phase of the ideal phase in which the specimen would have been placed based solely on chronological age.

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