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Size and shape of human mandible: Sex differences and influence of age on sex estimation accuracy

Leg Med (Tokyo). 2023 Sep 14;65:102322. doi: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2023.102322. Online ahead of print.


The degree of sexual dimorphism expressed by human bones is of primary importance for the development of accurate methods for sex estimation. The objective of the present study was to investigate sex differences in shape and size of the mandible using geometric morphometric methods. The study also aimed to examine the impact of age on the sex classification ability of the size and shape of the mandible. Computed tomography images of 190 Bulgarians (98 males and 92 females) were used in the study. Polygonal surface models of the skulls were generated and used for digitizing 45 landmarks located on the mandible. The raw three-dimensional coordinates of the landmarks were processed via generalized Procrustes superimposition. The sex differences in mandibular size and shape were evaluated for statistical significance. Multivariate regression was applied for correction of the allometric effect. Principal component analysis, discriminant analysis, and canonical variate analysis were also used in the study. Mandibular size differed significantly between males and females and achieved a sex classification accuracy of 87%. The significance of the sex differences in mandibular shape depended on the type of shape variables used in the analysis. The shape variables provided different classification accuracy: 78% using the Procrustes coordinates and 53% using the regression residuals. The male and female mandibles differed significantly in size and shape, including the allometric component. Mandibular size is a more effective sex indicator than shape. Age has an ambiguous effect on the classification accuracy of the size and shape variables of the mandible.

PMID:37722156 | DOI:10.1016/j.legalmed.2023.102322

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