The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

The intercondylar notch as a tool in identifying sex


Anthropology, Southern Methodist University

Thursday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

The development of an accurate biological profile is a central goal for anthropologists analyzing skeletal human remains. Specifically, the correct assessment of sex is an integral part of the profile. While many of the methods used to differentiate sex focus on features and measurements of the pelvis and skull, the measurement of other bones (i.e., the humerus, femur, and other long bones), have been found capable of distinguishing between males and females.

The current project focused on viability of using the maximum height of the intercondylar notch (MNH) at the distal end of the femur to separate males and females. This method is based upon the measurement proposed by Baker (1988) and Baker et al. (1990) to determine ancestry in American Blacks and Whites and consisted of a single measurement. The mean MNH for each sex was used to create a sectioning point to separate males and females. The distribution of males and females around the point was examined.

A total of 1,971 individuals (1,123 males and 848 females) were measured representing six broad ancestry groups. When all of the groups were condensed 67% of males exhibited a MNH greater than or equal to the sectioning point and 65% of the females had MNH less than or equal to the sectioning point. When each ancestry group was examined separately the percentage of correct classification increased for most of the samples. The results suggest that this method exhibits promise as a tool in identifying sex in skeletal remains.

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