Since there is not yet a consensus on whether the subadult pelvis can be used in sex estimation methods, this study assessed the forensic utility of ilium shape and greater sciatic notch morphology in sexing subadult pelves prior to acetabular fusion.
A sample of 397 modern U.S. individuals with unfused acetabula (i.e., tri-radiate cartilages) aged birth to 14 years was queried from a larger sample of postmortem computed tomography scans. Elliptical Fourier analyses were performed on ilium and greater sciatic notch outlines and resultant PCs were evaluated for significant effects of sex and age. Greater sciatic notch metrics were also collected. Stepwise linear discriminant function analyses with leave-one-out cross-validation were performed on the PCs and metric variables. Analyses were performed on pooled samples, on age-specific cohort samples, and on samples that iteratively removed the youngest one-year cohort. Cross-validated correct classification rates ranged from 57% to 65% and no patterns were observed to support an appearance and/or consistent expression of sexually diagnostic traits. Based on the results, sex estimation using these features is not recommended in pelvic remains prior to acetabular fusion, although the sample sizes of individuals over 5 years of age were limited in this study. Future studies should focus on the sexually diagnostic ability of pelvic traits in subadult samples post-fusion of the acetabulum. (Publisher Abstract)