A Metric Analysis of the Postcranial Skeleton of Hispanic Individuals to Improve the Estimation of Sex
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Forensic anthropologists are impacted by the growing Hispanic population in the United States. When estimating the sex of Hispanic skeletal remains, initial observations cause male individuals to frequently be misclassified as female. Hispanic individuals have been described as smaller and more gracile than the groups to which they are compared, including American Blacks, Whites, and sometimes Native Americans (Spradley et al. 2008). To help forensic anthropologists more accurately estimate the sex of individuals considered Hispanic, this research took standard postcranial measurements from border crossing fatalities from the United States-Mexico border, at the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner in Tucson, Arizona. In addition, Hispanic individuals from the Forensic Anthropology Data Bank were used to increase the sample size, which created a total sample of 114 males and 28 females. The standard postcranial measurements were statistically analyzed, and it was determined that the radius and humerus are the best elements for sex estimation in Hispanic individuals. Sex estimation rates from these elements are higher than when using metric methods derived from American Black and White individuals (Spradley et al. 2008). These results highlight that individuals considered Hispanic may exhibit sexual dimorphism differently than American Blacks and Whites, and thus require different methods of sex estimation. The results of this research provide forensic anthropologists with sectioning points and classification functions to use when estimating the sex of Hispanic individuals. Forensic anthropologists are impacted by the growing Hispanic population in the United States. Studies, such as this one, are important to the growing field of forensic anthropology, in accordance with the changing population dynamics of the United States.