Sex Assessment

  • Soren BlauEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_140-2

Introduction

The estimation of the sex of a deceased person from an analysis of skeletal remains is one of the first procedures undertaken by anthropologists and osteologists as the sex of a person affects other analyses such as estimation of ancestry and age at death (e.g., Rowbotham 2016). In forensic cases, the estimation of sex is pivotal in contributing to the identification of unknown bodies as determining whether the individual is male or female halves the number of possible matches.

Definition

The sex of an individual is a biologically determined variable and differs from the gender of a person which is a social construct (e.g., Agarwal and Wesp 2017).

Key Issues

Age of the Individual

There has been considerable research undertaken on estimating the sex of an individual from the examination of juvenile skeletal remains (e.g., Bilfeld et al. 2013; Cunningham 2014). However, estimating the sex of individuals who have not reached puberty is limited because in most cases the...

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Further Reading

  1. Bass, W.M. 1995. Human osteology: A laboratory and field manual of the human skeleton, Special publication. Vol. 2. 4th ed. Columbia: Missouri Archaeological Society.Google Scholar
  2. Blau, S., and A.J. Hill. In press. Paediatric anthropology and odontology. In Handbook of pediatric forensic pathology, ed. R.W. Byard and K.A. Collins. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Byers, S.N. 2005. Introduction to forensic anthropology. 2nd ed. Boston: Pearson.Google Scholar
  4. Garvin, H.M. 2012. Adult sex determination: Methods and application. In A companion to forensic anthropology, ed. D. Dirkmaat, 239–247. Southern Gate: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hoppa, R.D., and C.M. FitzGerald. 2005. From head to toe: Integrating studies from bones and teeth in biological anthropology. In Human growth in the past: Studies from bones and teeth, ed. R.D. Hoppa and C.M. FitzGerald, 1–32. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Klales, A.R., S.D. Ousley, and J.M. Volner. 2012. A revised method of sexing the human innominate using Phenice’s nonmetric traits and statistical methods. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 149 (1): 104–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forensic MedicineVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine/Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Soren Blau
    • 1
  • Luis Fondebrider
    • 2
  • Douglas H. Ubelaker
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Forensic MedicineVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine / Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF)Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA