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Indian Journal of Forensic and Community Medicine

Estimation of age from human sternum-an autopsy study

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Author Details: Manoharan C, Dhanalakshmi V, Thangam D, Edwin Joe A

Volume : 3

Issue : 2

Online ISSN : 2394-6776

Print ISSN : 2394-6768

Article First Page : 128

Article End Page : 132


Background & Objectives: Estimation of age in elderly person is often required in medico legal practice. Estimation of age in elderly person is comparatively more difficult than in young persons. The aim of the study was to determine the age of an individual from fusion of various parts of the sternum.
Methods: Sterna were obtained from 53 males and 47 females aged between 14 years to 75 years from known corpses during medico-legal autopsies at Tirunelveli Medical College, Tamilnadu, India by dissection and maceration of soft tissues.
Results: When the segments of the body of sternum are fused, the age of an individual should be above 21 years. If the manubrium and body of sternum is not fused, the age of the Individual is less than 35 years in males and less than 43 years in females. If the xiphoid process and body of sternum is fused, the age of the individual is more than 32 years in males and more than 40 years in females.
Interpretation: Age estimation from union of manubrium and xiphoid with the body of the sternum seem to be reliable where the sex is already determined. Fusion of segments of body of sternum is a more reliable in estimation of age of an individual irrespective of the sex.
Conclusions: This study proves that sternum is a reliable tool to estimate the age of a person.

Key words:
Sternum, Fusion, Age, Identification