Evaluating the Accuracy and Precision of Cranial Morphological Traits for Sex Determination
Article first published online: 11 JUL 2006
Journal of Forensic Sciences
Volume 51, Issue 4, pages 729–735, July 2006
How to Cite
Williams, B. A. and Rogers, T. (2006), Evaluating the Accuracy and Precision of Cranial Morphological Traits for Sex Determination. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 51: 729–735. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2006.00177.x
- Issue published online: 11 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 11 JUL 2006
- Received 13 May 2004; and in revised form 10 Oct. 2004; 4 March 2006; accepted 26 March 2006; published 21 June 2006.
- forensic science;
- sex determination;
- expert witness testimony
ABSTRACT: Sex determination is a key analysis that forensic anthropologists perform in order to construct a biological profile of human remains. The techniques used in forensic investigations must meet the Mohan or Daubert criteria, for admissibility in a court of law. In this study, the precision and accuracy of 21 morphological characteristics of the skull were tested on a modern sample of 50 adult crania of European White ancestry. The following craniofacial features are identified as high-quality traits, defined by intraobserver error ≤10% and accuracy ≥80%: mastoid size, supraorbital ridge size, general size and architecture, rugosity of the zygomatic extension, size and shape of the nasal aperture, and gonial angle. Ninety-six percent accuracy and 92% precision were achieved using 20 traits in combination. Fisher's exact probability tests revealed no significant differences (p=0.05) in the levels of precision or accuracy between age categories. Sex-related bias in accuracy was found for the following cranial features: ramus symphysis (p=0.009), zygomatic extension (p=0.0016), and occipital markings (p=0.0013). These traits demonstrated a greater tendency to be scored male than female.