Volume 50, Issue 3 (May 2005)
Determining the Sex of Human Remains Through Cranial Morphology
Sex determination is the keystone of a biological profile, yet few qualitative methods of cranial sex determination have been tested. This analysis examines the accuracy and precision of 17 morphological features of the skull commonly used to determine the sex of unknown skeletal remains. The sample consists of 46 identified skulls from the 19th century St. Thomas' Anglican Church Cemetery in Belleville, Canada. Nasal aperature, zygomatic extension, malar size/rugosity, and supraorbital ridge proved the most useful; of secondary value are chin form and nuchal crest; mastoid size is of tertiary consideration; nasal size and mandibular symphysis/ramus size rank fourth; forehead shape ranks fifth; and palate size/shape are sixth. Skull size/architecture provides an internal standard to assess the relative sizes of other traits. This research is a necessary step in establishing the credibility of morphological sex determination with respect to the Daubert and Mohan criteria for admissibility in a court of law.