Population-specific variation in the accuracy of Rogers’ method of sex estimation
biological ancestry, sex estimation
Rogers’ (1) method of sex estimation is a visual technique that evaluates morphological variation in four traits of the distal posterior humerus. This method has the potential for widespread application in biological anthropology, but previous tests have been unable to replicate Rogers’ initial accuracy rate of 92%. Additionally, the role of populations in the accuracy of the method has not been sufficiently explored, as only one study (2) has controlled for it. Wanek (2) found differences in the accuracy of Rogers’ method correlated with different populations but concluded the method could be used on all human populations, regardless. This study tests Wanek’s (2) conclusion through a blind test of Rogers’ (1) original method, though it differs methodologically from previous studies (1–7) by seriating humeri according to trait expression, and by using logistic regression for analysis of results. In conducting a blind test on a sample of American black and white individuals from The Hamann-Todd Osteological Collection, I found that the method was 67% accurate overall, and that odds for a correct classification were 2.03 more likely for a white individual than for a black individual. Prior to applying this method in the future, bioarchaeologists and forensic anthropologists should consider these results within the context of their study.
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