Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Tal Simmons

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Anemone

Third Advisor

Dr. Stephen Nawrocki

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Using standards established by Lovejoy et al. (1985) to score and estimate age at death from auricular surface morphology, the auricular surfaces of 266 individuals of documented age from two different skeletal collections (Terry and Bass Donated Collections) were examined. The age, sex and race of the individuals used in the study were unknown to the investigator during analysis. This study supports the claim proposed in the original study that auricular surface morphology is unaffected by an individual's sex or race. However, this study indicates that auricular surface morphology does not change as regularly with age as was originally proposed.

Although the standards created in the original study were not intended for use in human identification of a forensic nature, they have been used in such cases as both a single indicator of age and in multifactorial analyses of age. It is widely accepted that multifactorial analyses of age are the most accurate means of assessing age-at-death in the human skeleton. As is often the case, however, human remains fall victim to taphonomic agents, leaving them damaged and incomplete. These factors make the analysis of the auricular surface as an indicator of age an important issue. Further testing of the method must take place to ensure that the standards used in estimating age at death accurately represent the variation expressed in this aging system.

Included in

Anthropology Commons