Technical note: Evaluating mandibular ramus flexure as a morphological indicator of sex

Cheryl A. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Described as a highly reliable method of sex identification, mandibular ramus flexure is a morphological trait expressed on the posterior border of the ramus at the occlusal plane (Loth and Henneberg [1996] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 99:473-485). In a blind test, 158 mandibles were examined for the presence of flexure as defined by Loth and Henneberg, resulting in 79.1% accuracy, which is well below the reported 91-99% accuracy. Twenty-five of these mandibles were assigned the ambiguous score of 0, an outcome of a + 1 score for one side, and a -1 score for the other. Seventeen mandibles were examined twice to measure intraobserver error. Only 64.7% of the scores were duplicated in the second session, suggesting difficulty in consistent identification of flexure. Low overall accuracy, an invalid scoring system, and high intraobserver error indicate that mandibular ramus flexure is an unreliable technique for estimation of sex. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-577
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Mandible
  • Sexing techniques
  • Sexual dimorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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