U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

A Test of Wescott's Second Cervical Vertebra Sex Estimation Method on a Middle-aged to Senescent Sample

NCJ Number
Date Published
1 page
This study's objective was to further validate the Westcott (2000) method for determining sex based on fragmentary remains or incomplete skeletons, using a sample of primarily older adults (n=45; 24 females, 21 males; ages-at-death 54-90).
The Wescott method involves eight measurements of the second cervical vertebra. He created five discriminant function equations to classify a sample of 153 moder individuals by sex. Correct classification occurred 76.8 percent of the time. In a validation study by Bethard and Seet (2013), Wescott's discriminant functions were found to correctly discriminate sex just over 80 percent of the time. In the current study, the individuals analyzed were donated to an anatomical supply company for use by the current researchers primarily for another project. In the current study, preliminary data analysis demonstrated that Wescott's equations 1, 2, 4, and 5 were able to correctly assess the sex of approximately 60 percent of the sample. Overall, function 3 classified individuals correctly 68 percent of the time. When examining females, functions 1 and 2 correctly classified 50 percent of the sample, and function 4 correctly assessed 84 percent of the sample. Discriminant function 4 correctly classified males 30 prcent of the time, and functions 1, 2, 3, and 5 correctly classified 89 percent of the time. Based on these findings, this study recommends that practitioners use function 3 for highest accuracy due to its performance when sex is unknown. Functions 1, 2, 4, and 5 have a lower success rate and should be further tested. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019