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J Anat. 2009 May 11. [Epub ahead of print]

Estimation of age in the living: in matters civil and criminal.

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1
Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India.

Abstract

Estimation of age is one of the main tasks of a forensic practitioner, especially in third world countries, where many births take place in rural settings without the benefit of the expert supervision of a trained obstetrician. Such births are poorly recorded or more often not recorded at all in terms of exact dates. In many other cases, records are fraudulently falsified for some gain, e.g. to get government jobs or pensions. Developed countries, where ordinarily the birth records are meticulously maintained, are not immune to this problem either. Estimation of the age of living individuals may be needed here for refugees or other persons who arrive without acceptable identification papers. A wide variety of methods are used by the forensic clinician to assess the age of the individual in such cases. This paper discusses and evaluates the most common methods used in India, although the methods can be effectively utilized by medico-legal professionals anywhere in the world.

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