Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

Spring 4-22-2017

Thesis Advisor

Janet Monge


morphological sex, genetic sex, DNA, crania, mental eminence, mastoid process, supraorbital margin, supraorbital ridge, nuchal crest, skull


Morphological methods are relied upon to determine the sex of skeletal remains of both archaeological and forensic significance. The characteristics commonly examined in these morphological methods have a large margin of error, especially when it comes to partial or fragmentary cranial remains. The case could be made from this morphological study that sex attributed to fragmented remains where not more than one commonly scored trait is available for examination should not be considered as being fully reliable. In this study, I examined 20 crania from a collection from Tepe Hissar to compare morphological sex and genetic sex. Overall, the mastoid process should be considered a better indicator of sex than the supraorbital margins, nuchal crest, supraorbital ridges, and mental eminence. It is safe to assume that if the genetic sex and the morphological sex are the same, that sex is definitive. Conversely, it is difficult to determine which is correct when the morphological sex does not align with the DNA-determined sex. Through this research I have concluded that DNA analysis and morphological methods have the most significant advantages, especially over their alternatives, analysis of tooth size and wear and measurements plugged into discriminant functions, but have significant drawbacks.



Date Posted: 31 May 2017


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