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open access eISSN 2093-3673

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Original Article

Anat Cell Biol 2023; 56(3): 367-373

Published online September 30, 2023


Copyright © Korean Association of ANATOMISTS.

Forensic age-at-death estimation using the sternal junction in Thai adults: an autopsy study

Adisuan Kuatrakul1,2 , Vijarn Vachirawongsakorn1

1Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, 2Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand

Correspondence to:Vijarn Vachirawongsakorn
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700, Thailand
E-mail: vijarn.vac@mahidol.ac.th

Received: January 27, 2023; Revised: March 27, 2023; Accepted: March 29, 2023

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


One of the main parameters in the analysis of skeletal remains in forensic anthropological cases is the estimation of age. This study aimed to investigate the correlation between age and the fusion status of the sternal junction. This crosssectional study was carried out on 184 sterna from 94 females and 90 males obtained from known-age cadavers in the Thai population. By direct observation, the fusion stage of the manubrio-sternal and sterno-xiphoidal junctions was studied and divided into unfused and fused joints. The results showed that a large proportion of the sterna remain unfused throughout adulthood, with fusion observed in both young and old cadavers. Insignificant differences in the rate of fusion, the sexes and ages were observed. None of the sterna under 30 years of age in females and 32 years of age in males showed fusion of the manubrio-sternal and sterno-xiphoidal junctions. Based on the variability of the sternal fusions observed in this study, we highlighted a very limited role of the sternum alone in the estimation of age in the Thai population.

Keywords: Age estimation, Sternum, Fusion of bones, Forensic anthropology

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