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Forensic Sci Int. 1998 Nov 30;98(1-2):9-16.

Sexual dimorphism in the crania and mandibles of South African whites.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Pretoria, South Africa.


Numerous studies have clearly demonstrated that skeletal characteristics vary by population. To date, there are no metric cranial criteria for South African whites. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to establish population specific standards for sex determination from the skull. A total of 12 standard cranial and five mandibular measurements were taken from 44 male and 47 female skeletons of known sex and race from the Pretoria and Dart collections. These were subjected to SPSS discriminant function analysis. Bizygomatic breadth was the most dimorphic dimension. Five functions were developed from the complete cranium, vault, face, mandible and bizygomatic breadth. Dimensions from the complete cranium provided the best accuracy. In the mandible, bigonial breadth was the most dimorphic of the measurements taken. Average accuracies ranged from 80% (bizygomatic breadth alone) to 86% (cranium). These accuracies are similar to those obtained by researchers on other groups (e.g., 84% in Japanese crania and about 86% in American whites and blacks). Diagnostic accuracy, however, is lower than that obtained from the South African femur and tibia.

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