Discriminant Functions for Sexing Skulls applied in the Rainer Osteological Collection (Bucharest, Romania)

The idea of generating discriminant functions for sexing skulls was suggested by the article of Walker (2008). Unlike other methods (Walrath 2004; Williams & Rogers 2006), that seems to be appropriate for the Rainer Osteological Collection housed in the Institute of Anthropology in Bucharest. While Williams and Rogers (2006) used a group of features that require the entire skull, an uncommon situation for the archaeological samples, Walker's method demands five frequently preserved features: glabella/supra-orbital ridge, mastoid process, mental eminence, orbital margin, and nuchal line. Moreover, the discriminant functions can be applied for two, three or four traits when some of them are missing. Such functions (specific to the modern Romanian population) could be applied to both the human remains from archaeological excavations as well as to the forensic cases.

The aims of this study are: (1) to obtain an important number of discriminant functions for the modern Romanian population, (2) to test the efficiency of these functions by sex and age groups, (3) to establish their relevance for the archaeological samples from Romania.

In our opinion the experience of the evaluator/observer in human osteology is very important for accurate assessment of cranial traits. The efficiency of correct sex assignment based on discriminant functions depends on the subject population, on the time period. It is worth emphasizing the importance of the transformations of these traits during lifetime. Our evaluators, with and without experience in human osteology, suggested the necessity of detailed standards for scoring, including pictures of the cranial traits with various expression degrees. The results presented here are promising and we hope that they will help with establishing more precise criteria for sex determination based to the visual evaluation of cranial traits.

The article was submitted to the Forensic Science International.

Authors:NDREI SOFICARU, MIHAI CONSTANTINESCU, MIHAELA CULEA, CONSUEL IONICA
Publication:Forensic Science International
Published: 2013
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