Measurements of the talus in the assessment of population affinity.


As part of their routine work, forensic anthropologists are expected to report population affinity as part of the biological profile of an individual. The skull is the most widely used bone for the estimation of population affinity but it is not always present in a forensic case. Thus, other bones that preserve well have been shown to give a good indication of either the sex or population affinity of an individual. In this study, the potential of measurements of the talus was investigated for the purpose of estimating population affinity in South Africans. Nine measurements from two hundred and twenty tali of South African Africans (SAA) and South African Whites (SAW) from the Raymond A. Dart Collection of Human Skeletons were used. Direct and step-wise discriminant function and logistic regression analyses were carried out using SPSS and SAS. Talar length was the best single variable for discriminating between these two groups for males while in females the head height was the best single predictor. Average accuracies for correct population affinity classification using logistic regression analysis were higher than those obtained from discriminant function analysis. This study was the first of its type to employ discriminant function analyses and logistic regression analyses to estimate the population affinity of an individual from the talus. Thus these equations can now be used by South African anthropologists when estimating the population affinity of dismembered or damaged or incomplete skeletal remains of SAA and SAW.

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