Sex Estimation Based on Foramen Magnum: A Three-Dimensional Geometric Morphometrics Approach

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Zurifa Ajanovic; Lejla Dervisevic; Emina Dervisevic; Almira Lujinovic; Uzeir Ajanovic; Jasmina Biscevic-Tokic; Adis Salihbegovic; Aida Sarac-Hadzihalilovic & Nermin Sarajlic


The foramen magnum is an important topographic opening which connects cranial cavity and spinal canal. The analysis of the bone material established that there are differences in the shape of the foramen magnum between individuals. The aim of this study was to determine sex based on shape and size of foramen magnum using geometric morphometrics method. A study was performed on three-dimensional models (3D models) of 214 human skulls of known sex and known age (141 male skulls and 73 female skulls). The skulls are located at the museum of Medical Faculty, University of Sarajevo. Skulls belong to Bosnian population from the mid-twentieth century. All examined skulls were scanned with a laser scanner to obtain their 3D models. On 3D models of the examined skulls, four landmarks were marked on foramen magnum. Analysis of sex determination was performed using the MorphoJ program. Results of this study showed that there are sex differences in the shape and size of the foramen magnum. Sex determination based on the shape and size of the foramen magnum was showed 65.25 % accuracy for male and 63.01 % accuracy for female using geometric morphometrics method. Examination of the effect of size of foramen magnum on sexual dimorphism of shape of foramen magnum showed a statistically significant effect. Sex determination based just on the shape of foramen magnum using geometric morphometrics method was possible with 62.41 % accuracy for male and 58.90 % accuracy for female on examined sample. Sex differences on shape and size of foramen magnum were found using geometric morphometrics method on three-dimensional models of the examined skulls. The percentage of accuracy was higher for male based on the shape and size of the foramen magnum than for female.

KEY WORDS: Foramen magnum; Human skull; Sex estimation; Geometric morphometrics method; Three-dimensional models.

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AJANOVIC, Z.; DERVISEVIC, L.; DERVISEVIC, E.; LUJINOVIC, A.; AJANOVIC, U.; BISCEVIC-TOKIC, J.; SALIHBEGOVIC, A.; SARAC-HADZIHALILOVIC, A. & SARAJLIC, N. Sex estimation based on foramen magnum: A three-dimensional geometric morphometrics approach. Int. J. Morphol., 41(2):410-416, 2023.