Geometric morphometric analysis of mandibular ramus flexure

A. C. Oettlé, E. Pretorius*, M. Steyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Many characteristics of the human skeleton can only be assessed morphologically, which may be problematic due to factors such as interobserver error and difficulties with standardization. Flexure of the mandibular ramus is one of these traits, and various researchers found widely differing results using this morphological feature. The aim of this study was to determine whether differences between male and female mandibular rami could be observed using the computerized method of geometric morphometrics, a valuable tool that helps quantify shape differences. Twenty-eight mandibular rami of black females and 43 of black males were photographed in a standard plane and assessed. It was found that the females were more scattered on the graph (more variable in shape), while the males clustered more around the center point where the two axes met (shape more constant). There was, however, considerable overlap between the sexes. Although different tendencies exist between the rami of males (being more flexed) and females (tending to be straight), the extent of these differences is not adequate to predict the sex of a single individual.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-629
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Sex assessment
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Skeletal biology


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