The accuracy of 3D virtual bone models of the pelvis for morphological sex estimation

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It is currently unknown whether morphological sex estimation traits are accurately portrayed on virtual bone models, and this hampers the use of virtual bone models as an alternative source of contemporary skeletal reference data. This study determines whether commonly used morphological sex estimation traits can be accurately scored on virtual 3D pelvic bone elements. Twenty-seven intact cadavers from the body donation program of the Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, were CT scanned; this data was used to produce virtual bone models. Thereafter, the dry bones were obtained. Three traits by Klales (2012) and five traits from the Workshop of European Anthropologists (WEA) (1980) were scored on the virtual bone models and their dry skeletal counterparts. Intra- and inter-observer agreement and the agreement between the scores for each virtual bone model-dry bone pair were calculated using weighted Cohen’s kappa (K). For all Klales (2012) traits, intra- and inter-observer agreement was substantial to almost perfect for the virtual- and dry bones (K = 0.62–0.90). The agreement in scores in the virtual-dry bone pairs ranged from moderate to almost perfect (K = 0.58–0.82). For the WEA (1980) traits, intra-observer agreement was substantial to almost perfect (K = 0.64–0.91), but results were less unambiguous for inter-observer agreement (K = 0.24–0.88). Comparison of the scores between the virtual bone models and the dry bones yielded kappa values of 0.42–0.87. On one hand, clinical CT data is a promising source for contemporary forensic anthropological reference data, but the interchangeability of forensic anthropological methods between virtual bone models and dry skeletal elements needs to be tested further.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1853-1860
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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