The 87th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2018)

Testing the Accuracy of Sex Estimation from the Metacarpals, Calcaneus, and Talus on a Sample of Known Sex Individuals


Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology, Utah State University

April 12, 2018 , Zilker 1/2/3 Add to calendar

Forensic anthropologists and bioarchaeologists are frequently tasked with the identification of human skeletal remains, which includes an estimation of the sex of the deceased individual. Researchers can be extremely accurate if they have access to the complete skeleton, though this is often not the case due to issues of preservation, scavengers, and recovery conditions. The presented research investigates the efficacy of the metacarpals, calcanei, and tali for use in sex estimation in cases of limited skeletal preservation, as well as determining exactly which measurements are most useful for sex estimation. The presented research narrows the list of measurements needed for each bone to obtain the highest level of accuracy. 110 black and white individuals from the William M Bass Donated Skeletal Collection were included in the experiment and the specific measurements used on each bone were compiled from previous researchers. Discriminant function analysis found that specific combinations of measurements on each of the bones provided sex estimates with accuracy rates above 90%. Based on these results, we can conclude that the metacarpals, calcaneus, and talus are accurate measures of sex and thus viable options for sex estimation.

I would like to acknowledge funding from the Utah State University Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology, and the Utah State University Honors Department Research Fund.