Sex estimation in a Turkish population using Purkait’s triangle: a virtual approach by 3-dimensional computed tomography (3D-CT)

Julieta G. García-donas, Suna Ors, Ercan Inci, Elena F. Kranioti, Oguzhan Ekizoglu (Lead / Corresponding author), Negahnaz Moghaddam, Silke Grabherr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)


Sex estimation is considered one of the first steps in the forensic identification process. Morphological and morphometrical differences between males and females have been used as means for morphoscopic and metric methods on both cranial and postcranial skeletal elements. When dry skeletal elements are not available, virtual data can be used as a substitute. The present research explores 3-dimensional (3D) scans from a Turkish population to test a sex estimation method developed by Purkait (2005). Overall, 296 individuals were used in this study (158 males and 138 females). Purkait’s triangle parameters were measured on computed tomography (CT) scans obtained from both right and left femora of each patient at the Bakirkoy Dr. Sadi Konuk Training Research Hospital (Istanbul, Turkey). Intra- and inter-observer errors were assessed for all variables through technical error of measurements analysis. Bilateral asymmetry and sex differences were evaluated using parametric and non-parametric statistical approaches. Univariate and multivariate discriminant function analyses were then conducted. Observer errors demonstrated an overall agreement within and between experts, as indicated by technical error of measurement (TEM) results. No bilateral asymmetries were reported, and all parameters demonstrated a statistically significant difference between males and females. Fourteen discriminant models were generated by applying single and combined parameters, producing a total correct sex classification ranging from 78.4% to 92.6%. In addition, over 67% of the total sample was accurately classified, with 95% or greater posterior probabilities. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of 3D sex estimation using Purkait’s triangle on a Turkish population, with accuracy rates comparable to those reported in other populations. This is the first attempt to apply this method on virtual data and although further validation and standardisation are recommended for its application on dry bone, this research constitutes a significant contribution to the development of population-specific standards when only virtual data are available.Key points CT analysis using Purkait’s triangle is a suitable tool for assessment of sex in unidentified individuals. The best overall estimation rate was achieved with the F11 model, with around 92% of accuracy. The results suggested 78.4% to 92.6% correct sex identification rates. More research is needed to expand the sample set and verify the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalForensic Sciences Research
Issue number2
Early online date27 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Forensic sciences
  • Purkait’s triangle
  • computed tomography
  • forensic anthropology
  • sex estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Anthropology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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