Volume 49, Issue 3 (May 2004)
Sexual Dimorphism of the Calcaneus of South African Blacks
Forensic anthropology is a rapidly growing field in South Africa and skeletal biologists are often called upon by the police to assist in personal identification from skeletal remains, which are recovered in suspected cases of homicide and suicide and in mass disaster. Measurements of the calcaneus have been shown to be sexually dimorphic in South African whites. Since the validity of discriminant function equations in sex determination is population specific, the aim of the present study was to derive similar equations for the calcanei of the South African blacks. The bones that were used in this study were obtained from the Raymond A. Dart Collection of Human Skeletons, School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. One hundred and sixteen (116) intact and non-pathological calcanei, consisting of 58 males and 58 females and belonging to individuals whose age at death ranged between 22 and 75 years, were selected by the simple random sampling technique. The measured variables included the maximum length, the load arm length, the dorsal articular facet length, the body height, the maximum height, the cuboidal facet height, the middle breadth, the dorsal articular facet breadth and the maximum breadth. Discriminant function analyses were done using the Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) program. All measured parameters of the calcaneus showed significant sexual differences. Length measurements were found to be the most sexually dimorphic. Combinations of variables provided better estimate of sex (79%–86%) than individual variables (64%–79%).