Published Online: 14 September 2005
Page Count: 5
Thames Valley Archaeological Services, Reading,
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig,
University of Bradford, Bradford,
(Received 3 April 2005; accepted 22 June 2005)
Continuous monitoring of existing methods of skeletal diagnosis allows improving the reliability of personal identification in forensic and archaeological contexts. This study reports on a blind test re-evaluating the sexing technique proposed by Rogers (8) involving the distal humerus. A total of 351 humeri (184 male, 167 female specimens) from the documented skeletal assemblage of St. Bride's, London, was analyzed for the following traits: trochlear constriction, trochlear symmetry, olecranon fossa shape, and angle of the medial epicondyle. Individual traits showed substantial sex-discriminatory capacity, with “olecranon fossa shape” being most consistently accurate (84.6%) in predicting sex. The combination of all four traits provided an overall accuracy of 79.1%, including those individuals assessed as “probable” male and female. This renders the technique useful for forensic applications. The distal humerus can be recommended for sex assessment in addition to more established markers, especially since this part of the skeleton is frequently well preserved.
Paper ID: JFS2005171