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Methods for finding the age of fossils at death

  1. Apr 27, 2006 #1
    I'm curious in the processes used to date the age of a human fossil, not in terms of how many thousands of years ago the human died, but the age of the human when they died. Are there any special processes that are used to determine this, or are humans mearly matched up in terms of degeneration with humans that are alive today?

    ~Lyuokdea
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 27, 2006 #2

    Evo

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    Staff: Mentor

    Some things looked at are the bones to determine if there is still growth or if it has stopped, teeth are examined to see which teeth have come in and the amount of wear. They can tell from the bones if the person has suffered from illnesses usually associated with old age, but it's not exact.
     
  4. Apr 28, 2006 #3

    Astronuc

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    Teeth of children are different than teeth of adults, so that is one factor, and as Evo mentioned, the condition of the teeth and some knowledge of diet.

    Fusion of the cranial bones also give some idea of the age of an infant or young child.

    Beyond that there are the dimensions of the major bones of the extremeties and vertebrae, and pelvic structure that would give rough estimates.
     
  5. Apr 28, 2006 #4
    See this paper on science of Paleoneurology:
    http://www.emilianobruner.it/pdf/Paleoneuro03.pdf
     
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