Publication details

What is the appropriate approach in sex determination of hyoid bones?



Year of publication 2013
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Archaeology, anthropology, ethnology
Keywords hyoid bone; sex determination; linear discriminant function analysis; symbolic regression; geometric morphometrics
Description The hyoid bone is characterized by sexually dimorphic features, enabling it to occasionally be used in the sex determination aspect of establishing the biological profile in skeletal remains. Based on a sample of 298 fused and non-fused hyoid bones, the present paper compares several methodological approaches to sexing human hyoid bones in order to test the legitimacy of osteometrics-based linear discriminant equations and to explore the potentials of symbolic regression and methods of geometric morphometrics. In addition, two sets of published predictive models, one of which originated in an indigenous population, were validated on the studied sample. The results showed that the hyoid shape itself is a moderate sex predictor and a combination of linear measurements is a better representation of sex-related differences. The symbolic regression was shown to exceed the predictive powers of linear discriminant function analysis when two models based on a logistic and step regression reached 96% of correctly classified cases. There was a positive correlation between discriminant scores and an individual’s age as the sex assessment was highly skewed in favour of males. This suggests that the human hyoid undergoes age-related modifications which facilitates determination of male bones and complicates determination of females in older individuals. The validation of discriminant equations by Komenda and Černý (1990) and Kindschud et al. (2010) revealed that there are marked inter-population and inter-sample differences which lessened the power to correctly determine female hyoid bones.
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