Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021 OA / Sexing the bony labyrinth: A morphometric investigation in a subadult and adult Belgian identified sample

Alexandra Boucherie, Caroline Polet, Philippe Lefèvre, and Martine Vercauteren (2021)

Sexing the bony labyrinth: A morphometric investigation in a subadult and adult Belgian identified sample

Journal of Forensic Sciences, 66(3):808-820.

In forensic anthropology, sex estimation is a fundamental step in assessing individual biological profiles when analyzing human skeletons. Yet, current methods are not reliable enough to allow an accurate sex identification of highly fragmented, burnt, or subadult remains. This paper aims to investigate sexual dimorphism of the bony labyrinth on both identified subadult and adult individuals. The bony labyrinth is of particular interest for sex estimation since it is alleged to complete size and maturation pre-pubertally and is located inside the petrous part of the temporal bone which protects it from taphonomic processes. The study was performed on 93 CT scans of identified individuals from two Belgian osteological collections (19-20th century) and from current pediatric images (Erasme hospital, Brussels). Linear and angular measurements were taken on 2D slices of right bony labyrinths. Intra- and interobservers error measurements were calculated. Statistical tests were used to unravel any morphological variations between subadult and adult bony labyrinths and to highlight differences between females and males, separately in subadults and adults. Linear discriminant functions were established by cross-validation and tested on an independent sample from Belgium. Some measurements were significantly different between subadults and adults, and between females and males within both subadult and adult samples. Univariate functions achieved 72.7% in subadults and 68.4% in adults whereas multivariate equations increased accuracy respectively up to 84.9% and 78.4%. This study entails promising results to design a sex estimation method suitable for fragmented and/or subadult remains. Further metric approaches are needed to explore bony labyrinth sexual dimorphism.
International Redaction Board, Impact Factor, RBINS Collection(s)
  • DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.14663