Sex Determination by Discriminant Function Analysis of Lumbar Vertebrae*,†

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Sex determination is critical for developing the biological profile of unidentified skeletal remains. When more commonly used elements (os coxa, cranium) for sexing are not available, methods utilizing other skeletal elements are needed. This study aims to assess the degree of sexual dimorphism of the lumbar vertebrae and develop discriminant functions for sex determination from them, using a sample of South African blacks from the Raymond A. Dart Collection (47 males, 51 females). Eleven variables at each lumbar level were subjected to univariate and multivariate discriminant function analyses. Univariate equations produced classification rates ranging from 57.7% to 83.5%, with the highest accuracies associated with dimensions of the vertebral body. Multivariate stepwise analysis generated classification rates ranging from 75.9% to 88.7%. These results are comparable to other methods for sexing the skeleton and indicate that measures of the lumbar vertebrae can be used as an effective tool for sex determination.

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