Development of discriminant functions to estimate sex in upper limb bones for mixed ancestry South Africans
Billings, Brendon K.
Bidmos, Mubarak A.
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The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world, which is associated with an increasing number of unidentified individuals. Forensic anthropologists can assist in these cases to reduce the number of potential victims the remains may belong to. Sex estimation potentially decreases the number of possible victims by half. The mixed ancestry population in South Africa is the second largest group of people; however, there remains a paucity of data and population-specific methods for sex estimation in this group. The aim of this study was to assess the potential for metrices obtained around the nutrient foramen and the maximum length of upper limb long bones to estimate sex in mixed ancestry South Africans using discriminant function analysis. A total of 328 humeri, radii and ulnae from individuals of mixed ancestry were analysed. Sex was correctly classified with an average classification accuracy of 84.3% in the humeri, 88.3% for radii and 83.5% for the ulnae. Total length was the single best predictor of sex; the combination of total length with dimensions related to the nutrient foramen produced high classification accuracies in the current study. Overall, sexual dimorphism was observed in mixed ancestry South Africans upper limb long bones. The findings of this study further emphasise the need for population-specific standards of sexing in an attempt to improve current methods of forensic identification of descendants.
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