International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 133, Issue 2, pp 603–612 | Cite as

A validation study of the Stoyanova et al. method (2017) for age-at-death estimation quantifying the 3D pubic symphyseal surface of adult males of European populations

  • Anežka KotěrováEmail author
  • Jana Velemínská
  • Eugénia Cunha
  • Jaroslav Brůžek
Original Article


The age-at-death estimation thresholds have recently been shifted towards a more objective assessment of the aging process. Such a non-subjective approach offers quantitative methods of age estimation; for instance, the method relating to the surfaces of pubic symphyses of males published by Stoyanova et al. (J Forensic Sci 62:1434–1444, 2017). A validation study was conducted to test the method performance in European samples. The sample consisted of 96 meshes of pubic symphyses of male individuals (known sex and age) that came from four different samples (two Portuguese collections, one Swiss, and one Crete). Stoyanova’s method based on five regression models (three univariate and two multivariate models) performed worse in our sample, but only when the whole sample (without age limitation) was included. A sample limited to individuals under 40 years of age achieved better results in our study. The best results were reached through the thin plate spline algorithm (TPS/BE) with a root mean square error of 5.93 years and inaccuracy of 4.47 years. Generally, the multivariate regression models did not contribute to better age estimation. In our sample in all age categories, age was systematically underestimated. The quantitative method tested in this study works best for individuals under 40 years of age and provides a suitable basis for further research.


Pubic symphysis Age-at-death Quantitative analysis 3D model Structured light scanning 



We would like to thank the Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, for providing access to the 21st Century Identified Skeletal Collection and the Coimbra Identified Skeletal Collection (CISC). We also thank Dr. Elena Kranioti for providing access to the Cretan Collection and Ms. Lada Šťovíčková for digitizing it. Last but not least, we would like to thank Dr. Jocelyn Desideri and those at the Laboratory of Prehistoric Archaeology and Anthropology of the University of Geneva for providing access to the Simon Collection, and to Dr. François Marchal for providing the David SLS-2 surface scanner. Finally, we would like to thank to Ms. Šárka Roušavá for the linguistic corrections.

Funding information

This research has been supported by the research grant GAUK No. 642218.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPrague 2Czech Republic
  2. 2.Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology, Centre for Functional Ecology, Department of Life SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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