Volume 34, Issue 5 (September 1989)
Sex Determination with the Head of the Radius
Analysis of a sample of 1108 radii corresponding to 567 black and white North Americans in the Terry Collection at the Smithsonian Institution demonstrates that the diameter of the radial head is an accurate sex discriminator for human remains. A simple “radial-head method” of sex determination consists of measuring the maximum and minimum diameters of the head and comparing such measurements with the test cutoff points. The subject is female when the maximum radial head diameter (either left or right) is less than or equal to 21 mm, and male when the maximum diameter (either left or right) is greater than or equal to 24 mm. The same decisions apply to the minimum diameters of 20 mm or less and 23 mm or more, respectively. When the maximum diameter is 23 mm or the minimum is 22 mm, the subject is more likely male; when the maximum diameter is 22 mm or the minimum is 21 mm, the subject is more likely female. The sample frequency of any one of these latter diameters is never more than 16%.
Cross-validation of the method with a sample of 50 pairs of radii of the Terry Collection, different from the original specimens, resulted in 92% sexing accuracy when using the left radius singly, 94% accuracy when using the right radius singly, and 96% accuracy when using both radii jointly.