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The Lateral Angle Revisited: A Validation Study of the Reliability of the Lateral Angle Method for Sex Determination Using Computed Tomography (CT),


  • Presented in part at the 38th annual meeting of the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology, October 27–30, 2010, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada.
  • Supported in part by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Graduate Scholarships program (SSHRC ref: 766-2008-0234), the Manitoba Graduate Scholarship program, and the Canada Research Chairs program.

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Jennifer Morgan, M.A.

University of Western Ontario

Department of Anthropology

Social Science Centre – Room 3326

1151 Richmond Street North

London, ON

Canada N6A 5C2



This article presents the results of a validation study of a previously published method of sex determination from the temporal bone. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the lateral angle method for the internal acoustic canal for accurately determining the sex of human skeletal remains using measurements taken from computed tomography (CT) scans. Previous reports have observed that the lateral angle size in females is significantly larger than in males. The method was applied to an independent series of 77 postmortem CT scans (42 males, 35 females) to validate its accuracy and reliability. The mean lateral angle of the internal acoustic canal was found to be larger in females (46.5°) than in males (43.4°). However, the difference was not statistically significant and the sex differences reported in previous studies were not substantiated. In light of the observed results, the lateral angle method appears to be of minimal practical use in forensic anthropology and archeology.