"This technique also has the benefit of being significantly more accurate than traditional visual inspections," Ross says. While determining sex based on visual inspections of os coxa have an accuracy rate of approximately 90 percent, the new technique from Ross and Bytheway has an accuracy rate of 98 percent or better. The researchers found, for example, that several anatomical landmarks commonly used in visual inspection to estimate sex are actually very poor indicators of sex.
The new technique could also have significant benefits in the courtroom. Obviously the improved accuracy is important, but so is the fact that the method relies on quantifiable metric data not an opinion. This is an important distinction under the federal rules of evidence that govern what evidence can be submitted in criminal court.
The researchers are planning to incorporate their findings into the National Institute of Justice's 3D-ID program. The 3D-ID program consists of software that allows forensic scientists to plug in data on skeletal remains and determine the sex and ancestral origin of those remains.
|Contact: Matt Shipman|
North Carolina State University