Variation in Non-Metric Traits of the Pelvis Between Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics
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The pelvis has been shown to be the most accurate bone used for assessing the sex of an unknown individual. Assessing the sexually diagnostic traits of the pelvis can be achieved through metric or nonmetric analysis. However, it has been suggested that the male pelvis may exhibit more variation then the female pelvis and that sexually dimorphic nonmetric traits change with increasing age by becoming exhibiting more masculine traits. Few studies have evaluated the patterns of sexually dimorphic non-metric traits between different reference groups or examined the effect of age on these traits. Therefore, this study examined how accurately nonmetric traits of the pelvis can be used to assess sex in three populations: Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics. In addition, variation between males and females in each reference group was analyzed to determine if age was associated with the scoring of the traits. Ordinal level scores were taken on five traits of the os coxa, the ventral arc, subpubic concavity, ischiopubic ramus ridge, greater sciatic notch, and preauricular surface. These scores were recorded on White, Black, and Hispanic individuals from the William Bass Donated Skeletal Collection at the University of Tennessee (n=197). Scores were also taken from Black and Hispanic individuals from the Documented Skeletal Collection at the University of New Mexico (n=12). Results showed that there are some significant differences by reference group in the non-metric traits of the pelvis. In addition, significant differences were not found between the age ranges of most traits in either males or females, with the exception of male the ischiopubic ramus ridge. The differences in the growth patterns of the pelvis between males and females could account for the consistency of the traits between each reference group. Understanding these differences can help more accurately assess the sex of individuals.