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Sex Determination from Hand Dimensions of North and South Indians

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When dismembered human remains are encountered, the decedent’s sex may not be obvious. For these scenarios, techniques for sex determination may play a vital part of the medicolegal investigation. Five hundred hands (230 males, 270 females) from North and South Indian region were studied to investigate sexual dimorphism in hand dimensions (hand length, hand breadth, and palm length). The hand index (hand breadth/hand length × 100) and the palm index (hand breadth/palm length × 100) were derived. The hand dimensions show a higher accuracy in sex determination when compared to indices. Of all hand dimensions, hand breadth has the highest accuracy of sex determination in the study group. The sex differences were found to be statistically significant only for the hand index on the left side. The morphometric parameters of the hand show considerable sexual dimorphism in the Indian population while the hand and palm index remain poor sex indicators. The study thus has medicolegal implications when a dismembered hand is brought for examination.
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Keywords: forensic anthropology; forensic science; hand dimensions; hand index; identification; palm index; sex determination

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore-575001, India.

Publication date: 2009-05-01

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