Original Article

International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 128, Issue 5, pp 861-872

First online:

Morphometric analysis of pelvic sexual dimorphism in a contemporary Western Australian population

  • Daniel FranklinAffiliated withCentre for Forensic Science, The University of Western Australia Email author 
  • , Andrea CardiniAffiliated withCentre for Forensic Science, The University of Western AustraliaDipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e Geologiche, Università di Modena e Reggio EmiliaHull York Medical School, University of Hull
  • , Ambika FlavelAffiliated withCentre for Forensic Science, The University of Western Australia
  • , Murray K. MarksAffiliated withCentre for Forensic Science, The University of Western AustraliaDepartment of General Dentistry, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tennessee Medical Center

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Requisite to routine casework involving unidentified skeletal remains is the formulation of an accurate biological profile, including sex estimation. Choice of method(s) is invariably related to preservation and by association, available bones. It is vital that the method applied affords statistical quantification of accuracy rates and predictive confidence so that evidentiary requirements for legal submission are satisfied. Achieving the latter necessitates the application of contemporary population-specific standards. This study examines skeletal pelvic dimorphism in contemporary Western Australian individuals to quantify the accuracy of using pelvic measurements to estimate sex and to formulate a series of morphometric standards. The sample comprises pelvic multi-slice computer tomography (MSCT) scans from 200 male and 200 female adults. Following 3D rendering, the 3D coordinates of 24 landmarks are acquired using OsiriX® (v.4.1.1) with 12 inter-landmark linear measurements and two angles acquired using MorphDb. Measurements are analysed using basic descriptive statistics and discriminant functions analyses employing jackknife validation of classification results. All except two linear measurements are dimorphic with sex differences explaining up to 65 % of sample variance. Transverse pelvic outlet and subpubic angle contribute most significantly to sex discrimination with accuracy rates between 100 % (complete pelvis—10 variables) and 81.2 % (ischial length). This study represents the initial forensic research into pelvic sexual dimorphism in a Western Australian population. Given these methods, we conclude that this highly dimorphic bone can be used to classify sex with a high degree of expected accuracy.


Sex discrimination Forensic anthropology Pelvic measurements Computed tomography Population standards Sexual dimorphism