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Is Dwight Right? Can the Maximum Height of the Scapula Be Used for Accurate Sex Estimation?

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This paper presents data from a sample of 803 individuals (308 females and 495 males) from the Hamann-Todd collection testing Dwight’s century-old assertion that maximum height of the human scapula can be used for sex estimation—males being larger than 170 mm, females falling below 140 mm. The results of this project show Dwight’s method has high accuracy when scapular height falls either above or below the sex specific demarcation points (96.81%), but a vast majority of both males and females fall in between. The overall accuracy of the method is just 29.27%. By empirically demonstrating the limited usefulness of Dwight’s technique, the author hopes the rote republication of this method in introductory texts on the subject will cease, and draw attention to the need for multiple methods of sex estimation as a response to the overlap in both size and shape between males and females.
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Keywords: bioarchaeology; forensic anthropology; forensic sciences; human variation; metric analysis; scapula; sexual dimorphism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.

Publication date: 2009-05-01

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