Quantifying Sexual Dimorphism in the Human Cranium: A Preliminary Analysis of a Novel Method*

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Abstract

In forensic anthropology, sexually dimorphic cranial features are traditionally visually assessed and scored using an ordinal scale, which is highly subjective. This study quantifies six cranial features using original three-dimensional coordinate measurements to provide greater accuracy in sex estimation. Cranial features include supraorbital ridges, glabella, external occipital protuberance, nuchal protuberances, mastoid processes, and frontal bosses. Measurements were taken using coordinate calipers from 158 White and Black male and female crania from the Maxwell Documented Collection at University of New Mexico and Tennessee's Bass Collection. Overall, 72.2% of the crania were correctly classified. Males were correctly classified 69.9% of the time, while females were correctly classified 74.7% of the time. The overall value is similar to the results from traditional methods and suggests this method may be just as reliable as established visual sex estimation techniques.

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