Contribution of dental tissues to sex determination in modern human populations

Contribution of dental tissues to sex determination in modern human populations
Journal XX Congreso de la Sociedad Española de Antropología Física
Authors García-Campos, Cecilia; Martinón-Torres, María; Martín-Francés, Laura; Martínez de Pinillos, Marina; Modesto-Mata, Mario; Perea, Bernardo; Zanolli, Clément; Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Year 2017
Introduction. Sex determination is an essential step in the post-mortem identification of skeletal remains. Given their overall greater resistance compared to that of other parts of the skeleton, teeth are considered useful elements in the study of mass fatalities or catastrophic events since there is a great probability to recover them intact. Among teeth, canines have shown the greatest sexual dimorphism. Through Discriminant Function Analysis, we have explored the potential for reliable sex estimation of volumetric and surface measurements from mandibular canine dental tissues. Material and methods. The teeth included in this study (n=69) were selected from anthropological collections from Spain, South Africa and Sudan. In all cases, the sex of the individuals samples was known. The teeth were scanned and three-dimensional measurements were subsequently obtained. Discriminant function accuracy was tested on the original sample, using a cross validation and a hold-out sample. Results. Our results showed that sexual dimorphism in canine size is due to males having greater amounts of dentine, whereas enamel volume does not overall contribute significantly to tooth size dimorphism. Classification accuracy of the multivariable equations tested on slightly worn teeth ranged from 78% to 90.2% for the cross-validation, and from 71.43% to 84.62% for the hold-out sample validation. When we applied all of the functions together we obtained a 92.30% of correct assignments. Conclusions. Our results suggest that the three-dimensional variables from mandibular canine dental tissues are highly useful for sex determination and their application should be considered as a supplemental method to others. 3D measurements counteract the effect of the dimension loss of classic 2D estimations, reflecting the dental morphology and the patterns of dental tissues distribution more accurately.

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