The frontal bone as a proxy for sex estimation in humans: a geometric morphometric analysis

Publication Year:
2014
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Repository URL:
https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/gradschool_theses/1749
Author(s):
Hochstein, Lucy Ann Edwards
Tags:
sex estimation; geometric morphometrics; frontal bone; forensic anthropology; physical anthropology; digitizer; semilandmarks
thesis / dissertation description
Physical anthropologists have a toolkit for determining sex from skeletal remains composed of visual and metric techniques concerning the pelvis and the skull. However, complete elements are not always available and results can be indeterminate. The present study combines visual assessment of the skull with statistical methods of shape analysis, geometric morphometrics, to reach a better understanding of how cranial variation of the frontal bone is influenced by sex. The three-dimensional coordinates of frontal bone curvatures of 204 skulls from the Terry Collection were collected using a Microscribe digitizer. These data were used to assess the ability of this technique to estimate sex. Results of a Procrustes distance analysis of variance (ANOVA) suggest that variation in frontal bone curvature is explained best by sex compared to variables of ancestry and visual score. A discriminant function analysis (DFA) cross-validation test of sex classification showed the DFA correctly assigns frontal bones as female with 88.3% accuracy and males with 70.4% accuracy. These results suggest that this technique may be useful in future sex estimation software.