Sex Determination from Hand and Foot Dimensions in a North Indian Population


Additional information and reprint requests:
Kewal Krishan, M.Sc., Ph.D.
Senior Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
Panjab University
Chandigarh-160 014, India


Abstract:  Hands and feet are often recovered from the site of natural as well as man-made disasters because of bomb blasts, train accidents, plane crashes, or mass homicides. This study is intended to establish standards for determination of sex from the dimensions of hands and feet in a North Indian population. The data for this study comprise 123 men and 123 women aged between 17 and 20 years from the “Rajput” population of Himachal Pradesh in North India. Four anthropometric measurements viz. hand length, hand breadth, foot length, and foot breadth have been taken on both sides of each subject following international anthropometric standards. The hand index (hand breadth/hand length × 100) and the foot index (foot breadth/foot length × 100) were calculated. Sectioning points and regression models are derived for the hand and foot dimensions and the derived indices. The hand and foot dimensions show a higher accuracy in sex determination by sectioning point analysis when compared to hand and foot index. Of the hand and the foot dimensions, hand breadth and foot breadth showed better accuracy in sex determination. Hand index and foot index remain poor sex discriminators in the study.