Volume 48, Issue 1 (January 2003)
Testing the Validity of Metacarpal Use in Sex Assessment of Human Skeletal Remains
To assess the potential of employing metacarpals in assessing sex of human skeletal remains, previous investigators have generated regression equations (Scheuer & Elkington, 1995) and linear discriminant functions (Falsetti, 1995; Stojanowski, 1999) based upon measurements from metacarpals. Results have varied in overall accuracy and which metacarpal produces the greatest accuracy. Using a contemporary sample, this study seeks to evaluate the validity of using metacarpals to assign sex by testing methodologies of previous studies. Measurements defined by previous authors were repeated on metacarpals from 23 adult cadavers and data were subjected to regression equations and linear discriminant analysis according to previous methodologies. Accuracy in sex determination from methods of Scheuer & Elkington (1993) and Falsetti (1995) were lower than originally reported while accuracy from methods of Stojanowski (1999) were higher than previously reported. These results suggest that the use of metacarpals in sex determination may be limited and should be applied cautiously.