Estimates of age-at-death are a function of the sidereal growth rate of the tissue(s) being employed to gauge development, and cannot be made without a priori knowledge of that growth rate. The latter cannot be determined from any inherent differences in pattern in the developing tissues of extant taxa. Such similarities and/or differences are usually the result of functional specialization and are independent of somatic developmental rate. The primary differences in dental maturational pattern among hominoids, for example, are a direct consequence of dentognathic functional specializations, and bear no direct relationship per se with somatic growth velocity. The similarities of developmental patterns between dentitions of individual fossil specimens and those of extant taxa, therefore, cannot be used to estimate age-at-death.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Simpson, Scott W.; Lovejoy, C. Owen; Meindl, Richard S. (1991). Relative Dental Development in Hominoids and Its Failure to Predict Somatic Growth Velocity. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 86(2) 113-120. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.1330860203. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/anthpubs/72