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Testing the validity of population-specific sex estimation equations: an evaluation based on talus and patella measurements

Indra, Lara
Vach, Werner
Pichler, Sandra L.
Published in Science & Justice. 2021, vol. 61, no. 5, p. 555-563
Abstract Sex estimation is essential for forensic scientists to identify human skeletal remains. However, the most sexually dimorphic elements like pelvis or skull are not always assessable. Osteometric analyses have proven useful in sex estimation, but also to be population specific. The main purpose of this study was to test the validity of contemporary Greek and Spanish discriminant functions for the talus and the patella, respectively, on a Swiss skeletal sample and to quantify the utility of the measurements as a novel approach in osteometric sex assessment. Four talus and three patella measurements on dry bone were obtained from 234 individuals of the modern cemetery SIMON Identified Skeletal Collection. The previously derived discriminant functions were applied, accuracies determined, the utility of the different measurements was assessed and new multivariable equations constructed. Accuracies varied between 67% and 86% for talus and 63% and 84% for patella, similar to those reported by the original studies. Multivariable equations should be preferred over equations based on single measurements and combining the most significant measurements rather than using several variables obtained the best possible accuracy. The new discriminant functions did not provide a substantial improvement to the original ones. The overall utility of talus and patella is limited, allowing sex estimation with sufficient certainty only in a small proportion of individuals. Discriminant functions developed in contemporary Greek or Spanish populations are in principle applicable also to Swiss contemporary populations. We recommend that at present existent studies of this type should be validated and tested rather than developing new formulas.
Keywords ArchéologieAnthropologieEuropeSuisseSwiss SIMON Identified Skeletal CollectionMetric sex estimationDiscriminant function analysisTalusPatellaForensic anthropologyForensic identification
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Research group Laboratory of Prehistoric Archeology and Anthropology
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INDRA, Lara et al. Testing the validity of population-specific sex estimation equations: an evaluation based on talus and patella measurements. In: Science & Justice, 2021, vol. 61, n° 5, p. 555-563. doi: 10.1016/j.scijus.2021.06.011 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:153635

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Deposited on : 2021-07-29

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