(Received 5 October 2002; accepted 21 October 2002)
Published Online: 2003
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Since the earliest descriptions of the pubis length measurement, it has been recognized that the location of the key landmark in the acetabulum has to be estimated. Using samples from the Terry Collection (n = 324) and the Coimbra Collection (n = 232), the purpose of this research is to, first, test the reproducibility of a new alternative to the traditional measurement of the pubis, and second, to use the best measurement of the pubis along with other measurements of the hipbone and femur to develop a metric method that can be used with confidence to determine the sex of individuals of various geographic origins and time periods. In this study, it was found that, first, the alternative pubis measurement, known as the superior pubis ramus length (SPRL), can be collected more reliably with less mean intra-observer error (0.57%) than the more commonly used manner of measuring the pubis (2.7%). Second, a logistic regression sex determination method using the SPRL, along with other measurements of the hipbone and femur, has an allocation accuracy of 90% to 98.5% (depending on the model used and the manner of testing) across independent samples. Third, traditional racial categorization was irrelevant to the accuracy of the method. Fourth, measurement error greater than 2% in the measurement of the pubis can be the difference between a correct and an incorrect allocation of sex, particularly in borderline cases.
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