The role of forensic anthropology in the recovery and analysis of Branch Davidian compound victims: Assessing the accuracy of age estimations.
Age-at-death estimations of 44 individuals (27 adults, 17 children) from the Branch Davidian sample were compared with their actual ages. Estimations were evaluated for bias and accuracy for the actual age at death. Although the overall average estimates correlated well with the actual ages (r = 0.946), several individuals displayed high residual requiring further analysis and review. These individuals displayed age-related features that did not correspond with the expected morphology for individuals of their ages. Several age estimation techniques scored these individuals with all bias in the same direction. These examples should serve as cautionary reminders that biology does not always correlate with expected outcomes, particularly in such multifaceted traits such as age.
Houck, M.M., Ubelaker, D., Owsley, D., Craig, E., Grant, W., Fram, R… Sandness, K. (1996). The role of forensic anthropology in the recovery and analysis of Branch Davidian compound victims: Assessing the accuracy of age estimations. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 41(5), 796-801.
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