Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Sex determination of adult remains has become a well-established practice in forensic anthropology. However, the assessment of sex in fetal remains is a highly contested subject. The purpose of this research is to ascertain whether fetal and early infant specimens can be sexed accurately using five bones of the cranium and the mandible. The first part of this research project is based on the work of Fazekas and Kosa (1978), in which they test to see if statistical significance can be found between the cranial base bones of fetal male and female specimens. The second part is based on the morphognostic analyses of infant mandibles performed by Schutkowski (1993) to determine sex. The sample used for this project is the Johns Hopkins Fetal Collection, which is housed at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Statistical analyses on the bones of the cranial base are performed by using the Kruskal-Wallis test. Morphognostic analyses of the mandibles do not include statistical tests and were based on visual observations alone. Analyses of the cranial base bones yield no significant differences between the sexes. However, Schutkowski’s techniques prove to be successful in determining sex based on the shape of male and female mandibles. The conclusion, that there are sex differences in the mandible, but not in the cranial base, is based on developmental differences between males and females. The cranial base develops more slowly than does the mandible. The accelerated growth of the mandible leads to a differentiation in the sexes, which becomes apparent early in skeletal development.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Robert Tague