Is there a scientific way to measure human age, equivalent to tree-rings?

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felix  asked the Naked Scientists:

Dear Naked Scientists Team,

Is there a way for scientific measurement of human age? (like C-14 dating for rocks and dendrochronology for trees).

Thank you,

Felix Bast
Grad School of Kuroshio Sc.,
Kochi University,
Kochi 780-8520, Japan.

What do you think?


Offline RD

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The only creatures I've heard of having annual growth rings, like a tree, are fish...

Fish otoliths accrete layers of calcium carbonate and gelatinous matrix throughout their lives. The accretion rate varies with growth of the fish - often less growth in winter and more in summer - which results in the appearance of rings that resemble tree rings.
By counting the rings, it is possible to determine the age of the fish in years

Dentition is used to estimate the age of human remains.
« Last Edit: 06/07/2008 23:12:24 by RD »


Offline thedoc

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Offline Espen Fikseaunet

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Could a person's age be accurately determined using Blaschko's lines?


Offline evan_au

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Adult female dinosaurs apparently show growth rings, due to the calcium taken out to lay a clutch of eggs.

The age of humans can be estimated from their teeth (certain teeth grow at approximately certain ages), and by looking at which bones have fused together (which tends to happen after growth has stopped).

There is more than one way to measure age - one genetic measure is by epigenetic markers. Another is by telomere length; this does not measure how old you are since birth, but is claimed to provide an indication of how many years you have left.

Who says that calendar age is the most important measure?