Volume 43, Issue 5 (September 1998)
Identification of Race and Sex from Palate Dimensions
Measurements of the width and depth of the palate were used to predict the race (American black or white) or sex or both of an individual. The sample consisted of 332 living subjects with permanent dentitions, and measurements were made between cusp tips, so palate size includes bony and dental components. Blacks, with a more square palate, were distinguished from whites primarily by greater interpremolar widths and P1-to-M2 depths. Simultaneous prediction of race and sex had a correct classification of 48%, which is about twice that expected from chance. Pooling the two sex increases correct classification of race to 83%. Formulas also are provided for each variable separately to accommodate fragmentary remains. Resilience of palatal structures to traumatic and natural forces makes this method practical in several forensic situations.