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

Sex Estimation of Juvenile Human Crania Using 3D Assessment of Craniofacial Architecture


1Department of Anthropology, New York University, 2Department of Anatomy, University of New South Wales, 3Melbourne Dental School, Melbourne University, 4Hard Tissue Research Unit, Department of Biomaterials and Biomimetics, New York University College of Dentistry

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Sex determination is fundamental to the construction of biological profiles in archaeological and forensic settings, however sex estimation remains difficult.

Using Enlow's mammalian craniofacial architectural relationships, Bromage (1992) demonstrated that such relationships discriminate female from male juvenile chimpanzees. In this study, Bromage’s methodology developed from critical landmarks derived from in vitro human juvenile CBCT scans to discriminate sex determined profiles have been applied; thus with the precision of 3D imaging, we test whether modern human facial skeletons may be similarly distinguished.

A pilot sample of Cone-beam CT scans derived from Australians 6-16 years of age were analyzed (n=10 males and n=10 females). 3D landmarks for 70 craniofacial architectural points were independently identified by MKS and DR using Analyze 11.0 software. Points that could not be agreed upon within 1.6 mm—or 4 voxels on the 0.4 mm/voxel image—were discarded from analysis.

The craniofacial angle at the central semicircular canal, described by lines passing through the center of the orbit and the inferior greater palatine foramen, showed significant differences between the sexes at a 90% confidence interval. The angle at the junction of the anterior and middle cranial fossae (specifically at foramen rotundum), with lines passing through the aforementioned points, is significant at an 80% level.

We demonstrate the utility and efficacy of 3D evaluations of craniofacial architecture to discriminate juvenile female from male humans, having utility in forensic identification and potential for modern and fossil primate sex determination.

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