Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Lyle M. Konigsberg

Committee Members

R.L. Jantz


The ability to determine sex and race from skeletal remains is a fundamental feature of any skeletal analysis, including population studies and personal identification. Typically, sex and race is estimated from the cranium (Giles and Elliot 1962, 1963) and recently from the base of the cranium (Holland 1986). This study investigates the application of seven craniometric measurements from the base of the skull for the identification of sexual and ethnic groups.

This study employs samples from two skeletal collections, the Hamman-Todd (n=211) and the University of Tennessee donated and forensic collections (n=81). Seven measurements are taken on 292 (101 white males, 68 white females, 68 black males and 55 black females) individuals of known sex and race. The ability to discriminate sex and race for both the Hamman-Todd and the University of Tennessee sample is investigated. The implication of secular trends, as well as dimensional change of the measurements occurring in the sample is considered in the analysis.

Multivariate and discriminant analyses on the craniometrics are used to test for differences between the variables sex and race. The variables demonstrate sexual dimorphism and racial distinctions in the Hamman-Todd and University of Tennessee collections. The statistical tests indicate the probability of accurately assigning the correct sex to be 70.01% and the probability of assigning the correct race to be 66.96%. The ability to accurately classify the variables of sex and race from this data suggest this method be used if complete skeletal remains are unavailable.

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