Sex Determination In Anthropology

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Sex Determination In Anthropology

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Sex Determination From Bones - 2 - Thorax, Femur, Vertebral Column - Forensic Anthropology

This morphology directly relates to parturition, or child-bearing. For this reason, the pelvis yields the most accurate sex estimates, followed by postcranial bones. Sex assessments from cranial traits generally are the most variable and least accurate. A growing concern about the subjectivity of nonmetric sex assessments has led to the implementation of ordinal scoring systems, statistical methods, and the quantification of discrete trait morphology with geometric morphometric techniques that examine shape differences. Metric sex estimation is favored because of the objectivity associated with osteometric data but is only possible if equations from geographically and temporally appropriate reference samples are available.

The most popular statistical method for sex estimation is discriminant function analysis. Since degrees of sexual dimorphism vary between populations worldwide, population-specific equations are most accurate for metric sex estimation. Furthermore, significant skeletal sexual dimorphism is not present prior to puberty. Attempts to develop methods for subadult sex estimation have met with varying degrees of success, but, as a rule, it is not possible to determine sex accurately prior to the onset of puberty, especially when dealing with infants and children.

Most general overviews on sex estimation are covered in textbooks see Textbooks. Braz and Garvin offer an introductory overview of the topic. Moore and Berg present comprehensive summaries for the intermediate to advanced level audience. Berg, Gregory E. Determining the sex of unknown human skeletal remains. In Forensic anthropology: An introduction. Edited by MariaTeresa A. Tersigni-Tarrant and Natalie R. Shirley, — The chapter on sex estimation provides a thorough introduction and overview of various methodologies. Braz, Valeria S. Anthropological estimation of sex. In Handbook of forensic anthropology and archaeology. Edited by Soren Blau and Douglas H. Ubelaker, — This chapter briefly summarizes sexual dimorphism, visual sex assessment, and osteometric techniques used for sex estimation.

Garvin, Heather M. Adult sex determination: Methods and application. In A companion to forensic anthropology. Edited by Dennis Dirkmaat, — Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: This chapter provides a brief summary of the traditional morphoscopic and osteometric techniques used for sex estimation. Moore, Megan K. Sex estimation and assessment. In Research methods in human skeletal biology. Oxford: Academic Press. This chapter provides an in-depth review of current and historical approaches to sex estimation by specific skeletal elements and gives a thorough review of sexual dimorphism. Sex assessment. Provides a brief overview of sex assessment and includes commentary on approaches, factors, best practice, and unacceptable practices.

During the study I proposed a set of visual criteria which seemed to be useful for determining sex, and subsequent informal observations have convinced me that this method is worth pursuing further. I have an earned doctorate in physical anthropology and have worked as a staff osteologist or consulting osteologist on several archaeological projects during the past twelve years.

I plan to test the Skelton method for visual determination of sex from the scapula using a sample of at least 50 male and 50 female scapulas. Permission to use the skeletal collection will have to be obtained from Frank Norrick, Curator of the museum. The following information will be recorded for each scapula:. The condition of the scapula for characteristics 3 through 6 above will be recorded as hypermasculine 2 , masculine 1 , ambiguous 0 , feminine -1 , and hyperfeminine A contingency table will then be constructed for each characteristic that compares sex and score for that characteristic.

These contingency tables will have the form shown in figure 1. For each characteristic, a chi-square test will reveal whether there is a non-random distribution of scores by sex. An overall score will be obtained for each specimen by adding the scores for each of the 4 characteristics that are shown to have a non-random distribution by sex from the chi-square test. If the overall score is greater than zero, then the specimen will be diagnosed as male. If the overall score is less than zero, then the specimen will be diagnosed as female. These diagnoses will be compared to the known sex of the specimen and each diagnosis will be recorded as correct or incorrect. If the Skelton method for visual sex determination from the scapula is more accurate than expected by chance, then this method would be a useful addition to list of sex determination methods available to an osteologist.

If the method is no more accurate than chance, then the human scapula can be considered uninformative for sex using visual methods. Bass, William M. Skelton, Randall R. Sexing the scapula: Various methods. Phenice, T. A newly developed visual method of sexing the Os Pubis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology Bainbridge, Douglass.

A study of sex differences in the scapula.

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