Age estimation for two Mediterranean populations: rib histomorphometry applied to forensic identification and bone remodelling research

Julieta G. García-Donas (Lead / Corresponding author), Robert R. Paine, Andrea Bonicelli, Elena F. Kranioti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)


Numerous intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence bone remodelling rates and have shown to affect the accuracy of histological aging methods. The present study investigates the rib cortex from two Mediterranean skeletal collections exploring the development of population-specific standards for histomorphometric age-at-death estimation. Eighty-eight standard ribs from two samples, Cretans and Greek-Cypriots, were processed histologically. Thirteen raw and composite histomorphometric parameters were assessed and observer error tested. The correlation between age and the parameters and the differences between sex and population subsamples were explored through group comparisons and analysis of covariance. General linear models assessed through data fit indicators and cross-validation were generated from the total dataset, and by sex and population subsamples. Most of the histological variables showed a statistically significant correlation with age with some differences observed by sex and by sample. From the twelve models generated, the optimal model for the whole sample included osteon population density (OPD), osteon perimeter, and osteon circularity producing an error of 10.71 years. When sex and samples were separated, the best model selected included OPD and osteon perimeter producing an error of 8.07 years for Greek-Cypriots. This research demonstrates the feasibility of quantitative bone histology to estimate age, obtaining errors rates in accordance with macroscopic ageing techniques. Sex and sample population differences need further investigation and inter-population variation in remodelling rates is suggested. Moreover, this study contributes to the creation of population-specific standards for Cretans and Greek-Cypriots.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1469-1481
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Early online date8 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Rib
  • Cortical remodelling
  • Age estimation
  • Mediterranean samples
  • Forensic identification


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