The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Variation in nonmetric traits of the pelvis between population groups


Anthropology, Texas State University- San Marcos

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The os coxa has been shown to be the most accurate bone used for sexing an individual. Studies have shown that males exhibit more variation than females in the pelvis (Coleman 1969; LaVelle 1995; Listi 2010; Walker 2005). Age has also been shown to affect the nonmetric traits (Tague 1989; Walker 2005). Few studies have tested whether or not nonmetric traits of the pelvis are population specific (Listi 2010). This study examined nonmetric trait variation among modern Black, White, and Hispanic groups. The effects of aging on the expression of these nonmetric traits is also taken into consideration between the sexes.

Five nonmetric traits of the os coxa, including the ventral arc, subpubic concavity, ischiopubic ramus ridge, greater sciatic notch, and preauricular surface were scored following methods outlined in “Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains” (Buikstra and Ubelaker, 1994). These samples came from the William Bass Donated Skeletal Collection at the University of Tennessee (n=197) and the Documented Skeletal Collection at the University of New Mexico (n=12). Preliminary results showed that there is no significant difference in the nonmetric traits of the pelvis. Men appeared to show more variability than females; however, age did not appear to have an effect on the nonmetric traits. A potential explanation for more variation in males could be attributed to the amount of growth during puberty. Understanding these differences can help more accurately assess the sex of individuals.

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