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

Introducing MorphoPASSE: the Morphological Pelvis and Skull Sex Estimation Database


1Forensic Anthropology Program, Washburn University, 2Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Reno

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

Bioarchaeologists and forensic anthropologists continue to utilize morphological methods for the estimation of sex in unidentified human skeletal remains. The most popular traits used for the estimation of sex in both forensic and archaeological contexts are the five traits included in the Walker (2008) method (supraorbital margin, glabella, nuchal crest, mastoid process, mental eminence), and the three Phenice (1969) traits included in the Klales et al. (2012) method (ventral arc, subpubic contour/concavity, medial aspect of the ischio-pubic ramus). These eight traits were collected for over 2,800 individuals from various U.S. and international skeletal collections for the development of the free, interactive morphological database, MorphoPASSE: Morphological Pelvis and Skull Sex Estimation. Individuals from both modern and historic populations were included. The MorphoPASSE package interfaces with R to conduct the statistical tests and the results are displayed in a user-friendly format with associated statistical probabilities. Practitioners can enter their trait scores into the program, select the appropriate reference population (temporal and ancestry group), and the program will determine the sex probability based on those traits using logistic regression analyses. A publicly available user manual and website ( have been created to accompany the database and to facilitate the use of these traits for reliable and valid sex estimation. The score data from this research is available in numerous formats, including a CSV file and an R package.

Research was funded by NIJ Grant #2015- DN-BX-K014. Opinions expressed represent a consensus of authors and don’t necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US DOJ or NIJ.