Anthropometry of the sternum: An autopsy-based study for sex determination

Medico-Legal Journal, Ahead of Print.
Sex determination is one of the key components for establishing the individual’s identity in forensic anthropology casework. It is a known fact that anthropometric assessment can have population-specific variations. The present autopsy study was conducted on the sterna of 102 cadavers (52 males and 50 females) of age more than 25 years at a tertiary care centre in Central India. Anthropometric measurements included the length of the manubrium (M), mesosternum (B) and combined length of manubrium and mesosternum (CL). Applicability of Hyrtl’s law, Ashley’s rule and the sternal index were also assessed for sex determination. A statistically significant correlation (p  0.05), and the difference between the means of the ratio of the body with manubrium in males and females for Hyrtl’s law is also not found to be statistically significant (p > 0.05). It is concluded that the length of the body and the combined length of manubrium and mesosternum are valuable criteria for sexing the sternum in an adult population of Central India. The sternum can be useful for sex determination, particularly when bones like skull, pelvis, or long bones are not available or fragmented.

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