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Chapter: Forensic Medicine: Identification

Determination of sex

If soft parts are recognisable there is, as a rule, little difficulty in determining sex.

Determination of sex

If soft parts are recognisable there is, as a rule, little difficulty in determining sex. When only skeletal remains are available, however, sex determination is difficult, unless the pelvis as a whole, or a hip bone or the sacrum is present.

Although the long bones and the skull show sexual differences, these are not always sufficiently pronounced to enable the observer to say with certainty that the bone belongs to an individual of a particular sex.

 The matter is also complicated by the fact that, for example, some of the ethnic differences between bones may simulate sexual differences. San (``Bushman'') bones have the delicate structure of the females of other ethnic groups. Even when all the necessary data for sexual differences in the skulls of a particular ethnic group are available, it is possible to arrive at a definite conclusion regarding sex in only 85 per cent of cases.

 

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