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 Transition Analysis (TA) - Boldsen et al. 2002

Transition Analysis (TA) (Boldsen et al. 2002) statistically combines information from components of the cranial sutures, pubic symphyses, and iliac auricular surfaces to produce maximum likelihood point estimates and associated prediction intervals.


Rather than using multidimensional stages, the traits of each anatomical unit are scored as independent components. This TA approach better captures biological variability and uses the age-related variation present in each feature to produce probabilistically tailored maximum likelihood age estimates and associated prediction intervals.


To produce age estimates, data are entered into the TA program and the user enters estimated or known information about the skeleton (e.g., sex, ancestry). Trait data are combined with prior information about the population of interest to produce an individualized age estimates based on the traits observable and their character states. The method can be used with partial skeletons (e.g., if the cranium is missing) or if remains are damaged.

Transition Analysis Program & Documents

To download the most recent version of the Transition Analysis program (ADBOU Ver 2.1.046 - Aug. 2016) for free, visit

Generic Data Form 

Scoring Descriptions (Ver. 1.02)

Scoring Procedures PPT (Ver. 1.01)

Scoring Illustrations (Ver. 1.03)

Key Publications & Published Abstracts

2020. Getz, SM. The use of transition analysis in skeletal age estimation. WIREs Forensic Science. doi: 10.1002/WFS2.1378.


2019. Getz SM. The Use and Misuse of Transition Analysis: Assessment of the Boldsen et al. (2002) Age-at-Death Estimation Method. Podium Presentation. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 25: 71.

2012. Milner GR, JL Boldsen. Transition Analysis: A Validation Study with Known-Age Modern American Skeletons. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 148:98-110. 

2002. Boldsen JL, GR Milner, LW Konigsberg, JW Wood. Transition Analysis: A New Method for Estimating Age from Skeletons. In Paleodemography: Age Distributions from Skeletal Samples. R.D. Hoppa and J.W. Vaupel (eds.), pp. 73-106. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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