New method for age estimation of developmental defects of enamel formation in living populations

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2010


Histologically based age of occurrence estimates for developmental defects of enamel (DDE) are raising questions about the continued utility of traditional macroscopic methods; however, the new techniques are not appropriate for use on living populations. This study, using methodology suitable for noninvasive use on living populations, compares assignment of defect timing using a histologically informed macroscopic method (HIMM) versus traditional methodology (TM). For this Southern African population, TM estimates later median age of DDE occurrence than HIMM (Z-score: −13.565, P < 0.000) and modal age is 1 year earlier. HIMM allows for continued collection of DDE in living populations with the added benefit of more precise timing of enamel development. Accuracy for estimating general stressors during childhood is necessary for construction of diachronic analyses. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.