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What does forensic science tell us about Jane?

Age

Reliable markers for the age can quickly be gained from dental and bone development. Deciduous (baby) teeth are present through childhood and are then replaced with permanent teeth. Around the age of 15, third molars (wisdom teeth) typically begin to erupt from the mandible (jaw). Another maker for age comes from the growth of bones. During growth, bone is expanding, and the area between the bones stays open to allow for that growth. As we age, these fissures close and smooth over. The dentition of this skull has unerupted third molars with partially-formed roots, and the right tibia's growth plate at the knee was just beginning to fuse -- signs that point to an age of 14.

Male or Female

Cranial shape is an excellent indicator of gender. Females tend to have a more vertical forehead, whereas males tend to have a gently sloping forehead and often a strongly-developed brow ridge. Just behind the mandible (jaw) is a small protruding bone know as the mastoid process -- a muscle attachment for that jaw that is often very developed in males and quite small in females. Near the base of the cranium are a series of muscle attachments known as the nuchal area. Females tend to exhibit less development of nuchal attachments in comparison to males. Two of the largest portions of the cranium are the parietal bones. Located in the back of the skull, these boney plates tend to bulge out ("bossing") as we transform from infant to young adult. Females often exhibit this “parietal bossing” more prominently than males. The size and shape of this skull is small and elongated, with a vertical forehead that is characteristic of an early 17th-century English female.

Jane's Biological Profile

The skull of the young girl after the pieces found in 2012 were put back together.

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