A New Quantitative Method for Predicting Forensic Racial Identity Based on Dental Morphological Trait Analysis

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-95022013000200009
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Firas Alsoleihat


Few previous studies have demonstrated the likelihood of using the worldwide patterns of dental morphological variation in prediction of ancestry in the context of forensic dental anthropology. This paper introduces a new quantitative method for predicting forensic racial identity of individual specimens based on dental morphological trait analysis. In this study, the inter-population variation in the expression frequency of 16 non-metric tooth crown traits, manifested on the permanent dentition, was used for analysis. The method was developed from the notion that dental morphological characteristics, when viewed as sets of traits rather than isolated variables, can be utilized to calculate the relative probability that an individual belongs to a particular ancestry. This paper aimed at demonstrating that Mean Measure of Divergence analysis can be used to predict group membership of individual specimens into one of five ancestral categories: Western Eurasian, Sub-Saharan African, Sino-American, Sunda-Pacific, or Australo-Melanesian. Individuals were treated as artificially created groups defined by substituting the highest or lowest global frequencies for individual dichotomous values. Mean Measure of Divergence values were computed for every individual and the lowest score was the basis of the classification of individual specimens into one of five ancestral categories. This method was tested on individuals from a sample of living Jordanian Arabs (n 102), who were known to belong to the Western Eurasian ancestral category. Using this method, correct assignment of ancestry was made in 84.31% of cases. It is concluded that racial identification on the basis of dental morphology would be helpful in both forensic anthropology and historical archaeology.

KEY WORDS: forensic dental anthropology; non-metric tooth crown traits; racial identification.

How to cite this article

ALSOLEIHAT, F. A new quantitative method for predicting forensic racial identity based on dental morphological trait analysis. Int. J. Morphol., 31(2):418-424, 2013.