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Size factor as one of the problems in the sex estimation of skulls: Upper Palaeolithic sample from Předmostí (Czech Republic) as an example

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In this study we estimate sex and population affinity of Gravettian Předmostí (P) skulls using linear and geometric discriminant analysis (DA), and compare them with results of 2D geometric morphometrics (GM). We used the measurements of P3 and P9 males, P4 and P10 females, as originally estimated by Matiegka (1934), as well as two databases – the recent skull database of Howells and the fossil data of Henke. DA classifies the P skulls as robust and belonging to the “male” region, loosing the sensitivity of inter-population differences influenced by size factor. That is why this approach could not be applied. The geographic inter-population differences according to DA do not define P skull shapes as extreme. The influence of geographic variability could be stronger than the inter-sexual differences. Despite the chronological differences between databases and Gravettian skulls, these differences are a component of regional inter-population variability. According to our results, GM is more successful methodological approach than DA. Our previous sex estimation of P skulls with help of GM is completely in accordance with the classical morphoscopic estimation. However, an appropriate reference database is necessary in both the GM and DA approaches. For the sexing of skull with unknown population affinity, and with absence of appropriate reference database, we suggest to use the application of more subjective visual scoring methods.
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Keywords: CRANIOMETRICS; DIACHRONIC CHANGES; DISCRIMINANT ANALYSIS; GRAVETTIAN; POPULATION AFFINITY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • Anthropologischer Anzeiger is an international journal of human biology. It publishes original research papers on all fields of human biological research, that is, on all aspects, theoretical and practical of studies of human variability, including application of molecular methods and their tangents to cultural and social anthropology.

    Other than research papers, Anthropologischer Anzeiger invites the submission of case studies, reviews, technical notes and short reports.
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