Subadult Virtual Anthropology Database

The Subadult Virtual Anthropology Database (SVAD): a repository of skeletal and dental data from contemporary populations

Biological anthropologists have long been hindered by the paucity and/or limited accessibility of contemporary subadult data to build robust anthropological methods and improve the subadult biological profile (i.e., age, sex, stature and ancestry estimation). Moreover, such data are also immensely beneficial for studies on skeletal and dental ontogeny, allometry and for understanding individual and population level variation.

In an effort to alleviate this obstacle, four federally-funded projects (National Science Foundation BCS-1551913, National Institute of Justice Awards 2015-DN-BX-K009, 2017-DN-BX-0144 and 2019-DU-BX-0039) have been at least partially dedicated to building a substantial collection of contemporary subadult data to be made available for fellow researchers.

The Subadult Virtual Anthropology Database (SVAD) consists of skeletal and dental indicators of growth and development routinely used for anthropological studies involving subadult individuals: long bone measurements, skeletal maturation stages, dental development stages, vertebral neural canal measurements and pelvic landmarks. The samples included in the database originate from either hospital databases or medical examiner's offices of eight countries: Angola (n=241), Brazil (n=500), Colombia (n=43), France (n=578), the Netherlands (n=218), South Africa (n=1440), Taiwan (n=660) and the United States (n=1327). Subjects are aged between birth and 20 years. Both biological sexes are represented and exact age is known for all individuals in each sample. Some demographic information is also available, such as manner and cause of death for deceased individuals, ancestry/social race for U.S. and South African samples, and city of origin.

All raw skeletal and dental data are freely available for research as well as the three-dimensional reconstructions of long bones and pelves. All samples except one (Colombia) consist of medical images, namely CT scans, conventional or panoramic x-rays, or Lodox Statscans. All data and images are stored securely at the University of Nevada, Reno. Some of them are accessible for additional research, depending on the collaborating country.

We hope this free and accessible database facilitates and encourages international collaborations and promotes data sharing and open access in an effort to ultimately advance biological and forensic anthropology.

If you are interested in using the database or would like more information on the data, images and/or samples available, please contact us.

Database details