Assessment of intra- and intercostal variation in rib histomorphometry: Its impact on evidentiary examination

Christian Crowder, Laura Rosella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Rib histological age estimation requires the evaluation of the middle third of the sixth rib. Human ribs have thin cortices and, when recovered, are often fragmented or absent, making it difficult to identify a specific midthoracic rib. This research explores the amount of microstructure variation in the middle third of the midthoracic ribs and determines whether the sixth rib age prediction equation can be applied to non-sixth ribs with similar accuracy. The amount of variability must be evaluated in order to meet the criterion for evidentiary examination. The sample consists of 120 cortical bone cross-sections from the middle third of ribs 3-8 removed from 20 cadavers. For each rib, osteon population densities (OPDs) and associated age estimates were calculated. The results demonstrate that non-sixth ribs can provide similar OPD values compared with those of the sixth ribs; however, individual variation proved to be significantly associated with bias, suggesting that individual factors influence the magnitude and direction of bias in non-sixth rib OPD values. This demonstrates the importance of evaluating multiple cross-sections (both intra- and inter-rib) to estimate age due to the normal remodeling variation within individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-276
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Daubert
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Forensic science
  • Histology
  • Histomorphometry
  • Mohan
  • Osteon population density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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