Ancestry-Specific Variation in Rogers' Method of Sex Estimation
Rogers’ (1999, 2009) visual method is a technique for estimating skeletal sex based on four traits of the distal humerus, and is valuable in cases of commingled or fragmented remains when use of more dominant cranial and pelvic methods is not possible. However, Rogers’ initial accuracy of 92% has not been replicated by subsequent tests of the method, and the role of biological ancestry in the accuracy of this method has not been sufficiently addressed. I conducted a blind test of the method on a sample of nineteenth-century American black and white individuals from the Hamann-Todd Collection. This test resulted in an overall accuracy of 67%, ranging from 54–73% between the two groups. These results demonstrate that accurate estimation of sex using the method is two times more likely for a white individual than for an black individual. More research is required to understand the cause of this variation. Prior to applying this method in bioarchaeological and forensic contexts, future should consider these results that the method is not consistently accurate across all human populations.
Discipline: Anthropology (Honours)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Hugh McKenzie