Test of age-related variation in the craniometry of the adult human foramen magnum region: implications for sex determination methods

Rene Gapert, Sue Black, Jason Last

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    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Sex differences in the foramen magnum region of the cranial base have been identified with varying rates of success. Recent publications demonstrate a continuing strong interest in metric analysis of the foramen magnum region for sex determination despite the generally low expression of cranial base sexual dimorphism. It is important to identify possible age effects on skull base morphometric variables as most reported discriminant analyses use pooled-age samples without assessing the influence of aging on sexual dimorphism. This study examined 135 adult cranial bases (69 males and 66 females) from the St. Bride's documented skeletal collection in London. Traditional craniometric measurements were recorded and the effect of age on sexual dimorphism of this anatomical region was tested using a variety of statistical analyses including MANOVA and discriminant function analysis. Age-dependent discriminant functions for 50 years of age were developed and compared. The cross-validated results showed that the 50 years function achieved 81.3 % correct predictions. However, the high sex biases of these functions (14.4 % and -17.5 %) severely limit their practical application. A pooled-age discriminant function permitted 71.9 % correct prediction with a sex bias of only -1.7 %. The statistical analyses also showed no significant age effect on any of the variables, suggesting that a separation by age is not necessary for the development of sex determination methods.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalForensic Science, Medicine and Pathology
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

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    Cephalometry
    Foramen Magnum
    Skull Base
    Sex Characteristics
    Sexism
    Discriminant Analysis
    Sexual Development

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    title = "Test of age-related variation in the craniometry of the adult human foramen magnum region: implications for sex determination methods",
    abstract = "Sex differences in the foramen magnum region of the cranial base have been identified with varying rates of success. Recent publications demonstrate a continuing strong interest in metric analysis of the foramen magnum region for sex determination despite the generally low expression of cranial base sexual dimorphism. It is important to identify possible age effects on skull base morphometric variables as most reported discriminant analyses use pooled-age samples without assessing the influence of aging on sexual dimorphism. This study examined 135 adult cranial bases (69 males and 66 females) from the St. Bride's documented skeletal collection in London. Traditional craniometric measurements were recorded and the effect of age on sexual dimorphism of this anatomical region was tested using a variety of statistical analyses including MANOVA and discriminant function analysis. Age-dependent discriminant functions for 50 years of age were developed and compared. The cross-validated results showed that the 50 years function achieved 81.3 {\%} correct predictions. However, the high sex biases of these functions (14.4 {\%} and -17.5 {\%}) severely limit their practical application. A pooled-age discriminant function permitted 71.9 {\%} correct prediction with a sex bias of only -1.7 {\%}. The statistical analyses also showed no significant age effect on any of the variables, suggesting that a separation by age is not necessary for the development of sex determination methods.",
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    N2 - Sex differences in the foramen magnum region of the cranial base have been identified with varying rates of success. Recent publications demonstrate a continuing strong interest in metric analysis of the foramen magnum region for sex determination despite the generally low expression of cranial base sexual dimorphism. It is important to identify possible age effects on skull base morphometric variables as most reported discriminant analyses use pooled-age samples without assessing the influence of aging on sexual dimorphism. This study examined 135 adult cranial bases (69 males and 66 females) from the St. Bride's documented skeletal collection in London. Traditional craniometric measurements were recorded and the effect of age on sexual dimorphism of this anatomical region was tested using a variety of statistical analyses including MANOVA and discriminant function analysis. Age-dependent discriminant functions for 50 years of age were developed and compared. The cross-validated results showed that the 50 years function achieved 81.3 % correct predictions. However, the high sex biases of these functions (14.4 % and -17.5 %) severely limit their practical application. A pooled-age discriminant function permitted 71.9 % correct prediction with a sex bias of only -1.7 %. The statistical analyses also showed no significant age effect on any of the variables, suggesting that a separation by age is not necessary for the development of sex determination methods.

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