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Sexual Dimorphism in the Subadult Mandible: Quantification Using Geometric Morphometrics

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There have been numerous attempts, with varying degrees of success, to differentiate males from females on the basis of the immature skeleton. We investigate here whether the mandible can discriminate immature individuals by sex; the techniques we apply are from the field of geometric morphometrics. The application of these methods in forensic anthropology is still relatively new; thus, an important aspect of this research is that it demonstrates potential applications in this discipline. The sample comprises 96 known age and sex subadult individuals; the three-dimensional coordinates of 38 landmarks are analyzed using the shape analysis software morphologika. Multivariate regressions indicated no significant sexual dimorphism in the subadult sample; this result is supported by poor cross-validated classification accuracy (59%). Our results suggest that the subadult mandible is not dimorphic (to the extent that dimorphism is not evident within the sample we studied); thus, sex determination using previously described criteria is likely to yield poor results.
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Keywords: forensic anthropology; forensic science; geometric morphometrics; mandible; morphological variation; population affinity; sex assessment; subadult

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Functional Morphology and Evolution Research Unit, The Hull York Medical School, Heslington, York Y010 5DD, U.K. 2: Centre for Forensic Science, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, Western Australia.

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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