The Faults in the Methods: Problems with Current Sex Estimation Methods for Hispanic Individuals and Potential Solutions




Merrington, James Kellin

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Certain features of the human skull vary in size or shape depending on an individual’s biological sex. These features can be used to estimate the sex of human skeletal remains, which can aid in identification. The primary method of estimating sex using the skull is detailed in Walker (2008). However, these variations are present in different proportions in different ancestral groups. For instance, individuals with Hispanic ancestry tend to have more gracile features and can be misclassified by an observer who is unfamiliar with Hispanic remains (Duecker, 2014, Hurst, 2012). If remains are misclassified, then individuals may not be returned to their loved ones, who, as a result, will not receive closure. Therefore, the primary goal of this research is to determine the accuracy of Walker sex estimation methods when applied to a skeletal sample of predominately Hispanic ancestry. To accomplish this goal, cranial nonmetric traits from thirty individuals from the Operation Identification collection at Texas State University will be scored using Walker’s scoring system. These scores will be used in Walker’s discriminant functions to estimate sex and compared to ‘known’ sex estimated from the pelvis using the traits defined by Phenice (1969). The accuracy of each function on the Hispanic sample will be statistically compared to the given accuracy found in Walker (2008). If three or more functions are found to be statistically less accurate for the Hispanic sample than the sample they were originally created on, then new discriminant functions will be calculated using rStudio, an open-source statistical program.



forensic anthropology, sex, sex estimation, Hispanic, discriminent functions, literature review, Anthropology, Honors College


Merrington, J. K. (2020). The faults in the methods: Problems with current sex estimation methods for Hispanic individuals and potential solutions (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI