If the victim still has skin and clothes, they can profile and get a photo out to the public, and most likely will get someone who knows them. But what happens when all you have are bones? There are 3 bones that forensic anthropologists rely on when aging a body. These are the skull, the clavicle, the pubis, and the sternal end of the 4th rib.
For the skull, they look for the joints called cranial sutures. What these are are the areas of the skull that have joined together. The more open the sutures, the younger the victim. These sutures have a time table that forensic anthropologist can estimate how old a victim was. These sutures do not close all the way til about the age of 20 or 21. Now just because they close at that age does not mean it ends there. As they age, the sutures begin to fuse. The less the fusion, the younger the victim.
The clavicle (collar bone), aging has to with the fusion. Certain bones have several parts until we reach adult hood. We go from 300 as babies to 206 as adults. Now just because many of our bones have certain fusing timetables, forensic anthropologists use the clavicle because this one is the last to fuse to the main shaft. If the clavicle has no flaking on the surface of the bone, this means the victim is younger than 18 years old. If it has a flake of the bone is beginning to fuse, the age range the victim is put at is 15-21 years old. After the flake has completely fused this is categorized as between 24 and 29 years old.
Please feel free to comment on what you thought of the blog, or other physical anthropological subjects you would like me to cover after the weeks are done.