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The Impact of Racial Metric Variation in the Os Coxae on the Morphological Assessment of Sex

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This study examines whether sex determination based on morphological traits in the os coxae is impacted by racial quantitative variation. Nineteen traits were evaluated independently by two observers in 876 os coxae. Chi-square test was used on a random sample of 400 individuals to assess whether the distribution of correct sex assessment varied for white and black individuals based on each trait individually and all 19 traits collectively, as well as on inter-observer agreement in correct sex assessment. Results indicate that accuracy of sex assessment varied between white and black individuals in certain individual traits; however, accuracy was not impacted when all traits were considered together. Furthermore, traits that showed significant variation in correct sex assessment between races generally were not related to size, but instead were “discrete.” Finally, analyses of inter-observer variation suggest that disparities in sex assessment for some traits may be related to differences in trait interpretation between observers rather than morphological dissimilarities between races.

Keywords: forensic anthropology; forensic science; pelvic skeletal morphology; race determination; racial quantitative variation; sex assessment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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