Physical matches of bone, shell and tooth fragments: a validation study

Christensen, A.M. and Sylvester, A.D. (2008) Physical matches of bone, shell and tooth fragments: a validation study. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 53(3), pp. 694-698. (doi:10.1111/j.1556-4029.2008.00705.x)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


The following study examines the reliability of physically matching fragments of bone and other mineral-based biological materials such as shells and teeth. Participants with varying education, training, and experience were asked to complete a matching exercise consisting of intentionally fragmented specimens. Success rates were very high; the positive association (correct match) rate was 0.925, while the nonassociation (overlooked match) rate was 0.075, and negative associations (incorrect matches) occurred at a rate of just 0.001. Results also indicate that those with more education and related experience tended to have higher positive association rates, although not significant statistically. Experienced osteologists, however, completed the matching exercise in significantly less time. Low error rates among both experienced and inexperienced individuals support the reliability and validity of performing physical matches of these materials, and suggest that performance may also be related to an individual’s aptitude for spatial tasks or other factors.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sylvester, Dr Adam
Authors: Christensen, A.M., and Sylvester, A.D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Forensic Sciences

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record