Anthropology, Department of


First Advisor

William R. Belcher

Second Advisor

LuAnn Wandsnider

Third Advisor

Sophia Perdikaris

Date of this Version


Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Arts

Major: Anthropology

Under the supervision of Professor William R. Belcher

Lincoln, Nebraska, July 2022


Copyright © 2022, Andrea Nichole Sbei


Forensic anthropologists are responsible for estimating the biological profile—the age, sex, population affinity, and stature—of unknown deceased individuals. Many methods used for estimating the biological profile are sex-specific, which implicates sex estimation as one of the most important components of the biological profile. Historically, the skull and postcranial elements have been heavily utilized for morphological and metric sex estimation methods, whereas odontometric methods have been overlooked and underutilized. Odontometric data has proven to be a worthwhile avenue for the estimation of sex in several population-based studies (Acharya et al., 2011; Adams & Pilloud, 2019; Angadi et al., 2013; Cardoso, 2008; Harris & Foster, 2015; Joseph et al., 2013; Kazzazi & Kranioti, 2018; Pilloud & Scott, 2020; Prabhu & Acharya, 2009; Zorba et al., 2012). Due to population-based variation found within the dentition, the creation of population-based methods is encouraged. Using odontometric data from a modern forensic sample, this research uses linear discriminant function analysis to provide another route in which forensic anthropologists can estimate sex. Measurements of the maximum crown and cervical mesiodistal and buccolingual dimensions were used in this study, which has highlighted the benefits of including cervical dimensions into odontometric investigations. Linear models provided in this research produce 71.11% to 89.99% overall correct allocation rates utilizing various teeth, specific sets of teeth, and individual teeth. Within this sample, the mandibular canine is the most sexually dimorphic tooth. When isolated, the mandibular third premolar was the most effective tooth for sex estimation with a correct allocation rate of 82.22%. When possible, odontometric data should be utilized in forensic casework to aide in the estimation of sex for unknown individuals, especially if other skeletal elements are unavailable.

Advisor: William R. Belcher

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Anthropology Commons