The 88th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2019)


A test of Wescott’s second cervical vertebra sex estimation method on a middle-aged to senescent sample

KIMBERLY M. RAYMOND, DANIELLE K. JULIEN, LINDSAY C. COOPER, KALI A. WEST and ELIZABETH A. DIGANGI.

Anthropology, Binghamton University, State University of New York

March 29, 2019 , CC Ballroom BC Add to calendar

Forensic anthropologists and bioarchaeologists are often faced with fragmentary remains or incomplete skeletons. Such cases require the creation of sex assessment methods on a variety of bones. The Wescott (2000) method involves eight measurements of the second cervical vertebra, used to discriminate between sexes. Wescott created 5 discriminant function equations to classify a sample of 153 modern individuals by sex; correct classification occurred 76.9% of the time. In a validation study by Bethard and Seet (2013), Wescott’s discriminant functions were found to correctly discriminate sex over 80% of the time. Here, we attempt to further validate this method on a sample of primarily older adults (n=45; 24 females, 21 males; ages-at-death 54-90). These individuals were donated to an anatomical supply company and used by our laboratory primarily for a separate project. Preliminary data analysis demonstrated that Wescott’s equations 1, 2, 4, and 5 were able to correctly assess the sex of approximately 60% of the sample. Overall, function 3 classified individuals correctly 68% of the time.When examining females, functions 1 and 2 correctly classify 50% of the sample, while function 4 correctly assessed 84% of the sample. Discriminant function 4 correctly classifies males 30% of the time while functions 1, 2, 3, and 5 classify correctly 89% of the time. Based on analysis, we recommend that practitioners use function 3 for highest accuracy due to its performance when sex is unknown. Functions 1, 2, 4, and 5 have a lower success rate and should be further tested.

An award from the National Institute of Justice (2016-DN-BX-0155) supported a larger project involving the procurement of the samples used here.