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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • forensic anthropology;
  • hyoid;
  • ancestry;
  • discriminate function analysis;
  • Terry collection

Abstract:  This study utilizes metric analysis to examine size and shape variation between hyoids of Africans and Europeans in the Robert J. Terry Anatomical Collection. A total of 200 fused and unfused hyoids were measured and three statistical methods were employed to explore variation between ancestries. First, independent sample t-tests showed that some significant size differences do occur between ancestries. Second, to examine shape variation, skeletal measurements were regressed on the geometric mean using least squares linear regression with the residuals used to evaluate size-corrected shape differences. Finally, discriminant function analysis was used to develop two functions for ancestry prediction with overall accuracies of 73% and 77%. Results of the analyses suggest hyoid size and shape differences do occur between ancestries, notably that European hyoids are broader than African hyoids, while the African hyoid is longer than Europeans.