Age estimation in unknown adult skeletons remains a considerable problem in forensic anthropology. In 1992, Lamendin et al. published a non-destructive method of age estimation on single rooted teeth. With
this method, periodontosis and root transparency are judged against root height, and these are then used in regression formulae to estimate age. The aim of this study was to test the accuracy of the Lamendin
method on a large sample of canines of South Africans, and if necessary to adapt the formulae for this population. A sample of known sex, age and population group was used. This included 537 upper and lower canines from 498 skulls, and included black males, black females, white males and white females.
The age of the individuals ranged from 20 to 90 years. The original formulae gave relatively poor results, and in an attempt to obtain better accuracy the formulae were adapted with the current data. Even after
adaptation of the formulae, the highest correlation between estimated age and actual age remained low (R2 = 0.41), with mean errors ranging between 12 and 15 years. Periodontosis was better correlated with
age than root transparency. The accuracy of the method was found to be much lower than what was originally published, but probably reflects biological reality and is on a par with other methods of adult