Medico-Legal Disagreement About Nipples

Personal peer review – peering at data with one’s own eyes – is deemed crucial to some kinds of investigation. This eyeballed scrutiny figures in the war against indecent images of children. A study called Tanner Stage 4 Breast Development in Adults: Forensic Implications looks at the very different things different experts saw when they all peered at the same female nipples.

Many websites with pictures of unclad persons feature a statement specifying that all those photographed are over 18. In some court cases, expert physicians testify as to the possible age of the people in some of those photos. The new study and other research demonstrates that such experts can be – and often are – wrong….

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.