Sex assessment on the basis of long bone circumference

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Discriminant functions have long been used to classify individuals into groups according to the dimensions of their bones. Although lengths, widths, and diameters have been extensively used, the circumferences have not been adequately validated. In this work, the importance that the circumferences of long bones can have in assigning the sex of ancient human remains is demonstrated. The functions produced by using just one circumference achieved accuracies higher than 80%, and circumference at the radial tuberosity of the radius is able to classify 92.8% of skeletons from the Late Roman site of Mas Rimbau/Mas Mallol (Spain). When functions are produced by using more than one circumference, they can achieve the upper-most classification attained in this sample. The functions also showed that the arm circumference functions are more useful than those of the leg, probably because male individuals of the population had greater mechanical stress than did females. The classification percentages, as well as other statistical values for the functions, demonstrated the great ability of long bone circumferences in helping to classify the sex of individuals of other sites of the Mediterranean area besides the ones examined in this study. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-328
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2000


  • Diaphyseal diameters
  • Discriminant analysis
  • Late Roman Period
  • Sex identification


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