Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Medicine

First Committee Member

Edward Herschaft

Second Committee Member

Brian Chrzan

Third Committee Member

Robert Danforth

Fourth Committee Member

Debra Martin

Number of Pages



This study employs the three-dimensional visualization capability of cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) to investigate the relationship between chronological age and timing of fusion of the spheno-occipital synchondrosis in a male/female subadult Hispanic population of Southern Nevada. The sample includes cross-sectional data of 374 orthodontic patients (166 males and 208 females) aged 8-20 years. The SOS is scored by a four-stage scoring system as completely open (stage 0), less than half fused (stage 1), more than half fused (stage 2), or completely fused (stage 3) as visualized in the midsagittal plane in the CBCT image. The relationship between SOS fusion stage and chronological age for both males and females is investigated for utility in age estimation efforts of living persons.

Mean ages for fusion stage 0, stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3 were 10.90, 12.66, 13.87, and 16.35 years in males, and 9.86, 10.54, 11.42, and 14.84 in females, respectively. Spearman correlation analysis showed a significantly strong positive correlation between age and SOS fusion stage for the entire population (Spearman’s rho = 0.719, p

There is a significant positive relationship between SOS fusion and chronological age in subadult Hispanic males and females of Southern Nevada. Results from this research suggest that SOS fusion stage could be used as a subadult age estimation technique for Hispanic males of Southern Nevada, but not for females. Ultimately, SOS fusion stage should be used in conjunction with other skeletal or dental indices for age estimation efforts in this population and not as a stand-alone age indicator.


Forensic age estimation; Skeletal developmental markers; Three-dimensional radiography


American Studies | Anthropology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Developmental Biology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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