Volume 50, Issue 2 (March 2005)
Prediction of Race Using Characteristics of Dental Morphology
Historically, forensic anthropology has concentrated on race determination using skeletal morphological variation. Conversely, dental anthropology has been concerned with worldwide patterns of dental morphological variation. This paper represents a synthesis of the goals of forensic anthropology with the methods of dental anthropology. Dentitions of modern African Americans (n = 110) and European Americans (n = 155) were observed using methods based on the Arizona State University dental morphology standards. Of 136 characters observed, eight were found with frequencies that were very different between the groups. Based on these eight characteristics, probability tables were created for determining an individual's social race, using both Bayesian prediction and logistic regression. These tables are applicable for determining the probability that an unknown individual can be categorized as African American or European American. This method was tested on 40 individuals known to belong in one of these two ancestral groups. Correct assignment of race was made in 90% of cases.