Is Dwight right? Can the maximum height of the scapula be used for accurate sex estimation?
ABSTRACT This paper presents data from a sample of 803 individuals (308 females and 495 males) from the Hamann-Todd collection testing Dwight's century-old assertion that maximum height of the human scapula can be used for sex estimation--males being larger than 170 mm, females falling below 140 mm. The results of this project show Dwight's method has high accuracy when scapular height falls either above or below the sex specific demarcation points (96.81%), but a vast majority of both males and females fall in between. The overall accuracy of the method is just 29.27%. By empirically demonstrating the limited usefulness of Dwight's technique, the author hopes the rote republication of this method in introductory texts on the subject will cease, and draw attention to the need for multiple methods of sex estimation as a response to the overlap in both size and shape between males and females.
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ABSTRACT: The accuracy of a method for visually scoring sex differences in the greater sciatic notch was tested on 296 skeletons of known age and sex. The proportion of correct sex assignments is 80% when all specimens are classified, and 89% when os coxae assigned the score in which the sexes show the greatest overlap are excluded. Although many os coxae (35%) have this sexually intermediate morphology, excluding them has the advantage of substantially reducing sex biases in sexing errors. For both sexes, there is a strong relationship between age at death and sciatic notch score. People who die at a younger age tend to have wider, more feminine-appearing sciatic notches than people of greater longevity. There are also significant population differences. The 18th-19th century English sample from St. Bride's Church has a more feminine morphology than Americans of European or African ancestry. Environmental influences on skeletal development (vitamin D deficiency) appear to provide the most likely explanation for these population differences.American Journal of Physical Anthropology 09/2005; 127(4):385-91. · 2.48 Impact Factor