A review of sex estimation techniques during examination of skeletal remains in forensic anthropology casework

Kewal Krishan, Preetika M. Chatterjee, Tanuj Kanchan, Sandeep Kaur, Neha Baryah, R. K. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

201 Citations (Scopus)


Sex estimation is considered as one of the essential parameters in forensic anthropology casework, and requires foremost consideration in the examination of skeletal remains. Forensic anthropologists frequently employ morphologic and metric methods for sex estimation of human remains. These methods are still very imperative in identification process in spite of the advent and accomplishment of molecular techniques. A constant boost in the use of imaging techniques in forensic anthropology research has facilitated to derive as well as revise the available population data. These methods however, are less reliable owing to high variance and indistinct landmark details. The present review discusses the reliability and reproducibility of various analytical approaches; morphological, metric, molecular and radiographic methods in sex estimation of skeletal remains. Numerous studies have shown a higher reliability and reproducibility of measurements taken directly on the bones and hence, such direct methods of sex estimation are considered to be more reliable than the other methods. Geometric morphometric (GM) method and Diagnose Sexuelle Probabiliste (DSP) method are emerging as valid methods and widely used techniques in forensic anthropology in terms of accuracy and reliability. Besides, the newer 3D methods are shown to exhibit specific sexual dimorphism patterns not readily revealed by traditional methods. Development of newer and better methodologies for sex estimation as well as re-evaluation of the existing ones will continue in the endeavour of forensic researchers for more accurate results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165.e1-165.e8
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - 01-04-2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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