The influence of age, sex, population group, and dentition on the mandibular angle as measured on a South African sample

Anna C. Oettlé, Piet J. Becker, Elzabe De Villiers, Maryna Steyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The mandibular angle is measured in physical anthropological assessments of human remains to possibly assist with the determination of sex and population affinity. The purpose of this investigation was to establish how the mandibular angle changes with age and loss of teeth among the sexes in South African population groups. The angles of 653 dried adult mandibles from the Pretoria Bone Collection were measured with a mandibulometer. Males and females of both South African whites and blacks were included. To compensate for imbalances in numbers among subgroups, type IV ANOVA testing was applied. No association was found between age and angle within either of the populations, within sexes, or within dentition groups. The angle was the most obtuse in individuals without molars and with an uneven distribution of molars, and most acute in the group with an even distribution of molars on both sides. Statistically significant differences (P < 0.001) were found in the angle between the two population groups and sexes in the overall sample as well as in the subgroup with absent molar teeth (P 5 = 0.003 for sex, males more acute angle, and P 5 = 0.001 for population group, blacks more acute angle), although a very large overlap existed. No significant differences could be demonstrated between the sexes or populations within the subgroups with molars. We concluded that the loss of molars, especially if complete or uneven, has a considerable effect on the mandibular angle. In the assessment of human remains, the mandibular angle is not very usable in determining sex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-511
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Gonial angle
  • Mandible
  • Mandibulometer


Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of age, sex, population group, and dentition on the mandibular angle as measured on a South African sample'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this