Volume 39, Issue 4 (July 1994)
Accuracy of Sex Determination Using Morphological Traits of the Human Pelvis
This study assesses the accuracy and reliability of 17 individual morphological traits of the pelvis frequently used to determine the sex of human skeletal remains. A sample of 49 right and left adult hip bones and sacra of documented individuals were available from an historic church cemetery dating from the 19th century. A hypothetical ranking of the accuracy of traits was drawn from the literature. Next, individual traits were evaluated for precision and accuracy of observations, and combinations of two and three traits were evaluated for their collective effectiveness as sex indicators. The effect of age on the accuracy of traits for sex determination was also examined. Precision of traits was generally good. Several combinations of three criteria produced higher levels of accuracy than the trait list as a whole. A total of six traits was judged to be most effective as sex discriminators because of low intraobserver error levels and better than 83% accuracy rates. There was no indication of an age effect on the precision or accuracy of these traits although sample sizes are small.