Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hips Don't Lie... in Sex Determination of Skeletal Remains

by blogger klv

Typically, forensic scientists have used the pelvic bone to determine the sex of skeletal remains. Though widely accepted, the technique has many limitations. Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique that is accurate and quantifiable.

The researchers found more than 20 anatomical "landmarks" on the os coxa that can be used to determine a body's sex. Finding so many landmarks is important, Ross says, because it means that the sex of a body can be ascertained even if only a small fragment of the pelvis can be found. In other words, even if only 15 percent of the pelvis is recovered, it is likely that at least a few of the landmarks can be found on that fragment.

Here's how it would work: a forensic scientist would use a digitizer to create a 3-D map of the pelvic fragment and measure the relevant anatomical landmarks. The scientist could then determine the sex of the remains by comparing those measurements to the measurements listed in the paper by Bytheway and Ross.


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