The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)

Sex estimation using the calcaneus in a modern American skeletal population


Anthropology, California University of Pennsylvania

April 16, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

One of the most important aspects of the analysis and identification of human skeletal remains is determination of the biological profile, which consists of the age, sex, ancestry, and stature of an individual. Typically, anthropologists analyze the pubic bone in adult human skeletal remains, which is highly sexually dimorphic due to a female’s capacity for childbirth. However, when these fragile bones are broken, damaged, or altogether missing, it is necessary to look to other areas of the skeleton for sex information. DiMichele and Spradley (2012) developed a method of sex estimation using four measurements of the calcaneus. For this project, this method was tested using the left calcanei of modern American skeletal remains from the Texas State University Donated Skeletal Collection (TXSTDSC). This skeletal sample consists of 264 individuals (151 males, 113 females) with an average age-at-death of 65.2 years, 91.3% of whom are classified as white. Data analysis shows that the discriminant function equation developed by DiMichele and Spradley (2012) was able to correctly classify sex for 84.4% of individuals in the current study. The sectioning points for individual measurements were able to accurately estimate sex for 76.7–80.9% of this skeletal sample. The results of this study further validate that the calcaneus is sexually dimorphic and can be used to estimate sex in a modern American skeletal sample.

Slides/Poster (pdf)