Sexual dimorphism of the tibia in contemporary Greek-Cypriots and Cretans: Forensic applications
Abstract Sex estimation is an essential step in the identification process of unknown heavily decomposed human remains as it eliminates all possible matches of the opposite sex from the missing person’s database. Osteometric methods constitute a reliable approach for sex estimation and considering the variation of sexual dimorphism between and within populations; standards for specific populations are required to ensure accurate results. The current study aspires to contribute osteometric data on the tibia from contemporary Greek-Cypriots to assist the identification process. A secondary goal involves osteometric comparison with data from Crete, a Greek island with similar cultural and dietary customs and environmental conditions. Left tibiae from one hundred and thirty-two skeletons (70 males and 62 females) of Greek-Cypriots and one hundred and fifty-seven skeletons (85 males, 72 females) of Cretans were measured. Seven standard metric variables including Maximum length (ML), Upper epiphyseal breadth (UB), Nutrient foramen anteroposterior diameter (NFap), Nutrient Foramen transverse diameter (NFtrsv), Nutrient foramen circumference (NFCirc), Minimum circumference (MinCirc) and Lower epiphyseal breadth (LB) were compared between sexes and populations. Univariate and multivariate discriminant functions were developed and posterior probabilities were calculated for each sample. Results confirmed the existence of sexual dimorphism of the tibia in both samples as well as the pooled sample. Classification accuracy for univariate functions ranged from 78% to 85% for Greek-Cypriots and from 69% to 83% for Cretans. The best multivariate equations after cross-validation resulted in 87% for Greek-Cypriots and 90% accuracy for Cretans. When the samples were pooled accuracy reached 87% with over 95% confidence for about one third of the population. Estimates with over 95% of posterior probability can be considered reliable while any less than 80% should be treated with caution. This work constitutes the initial step towards the creation of an osteometric database for Greek-Cypriots and we hope it can contribute to the biological profiling and identification of the missing and to potential forensic cases of unknown skeletal remains both in Cyprus and Crete.
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