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Journal of the Anatomical Society of India

Biometry of the posterior border of the human hip bone: normal values and their use in sex determination

Author(s): Isaac, B

Vol. 51, No. 1 (2002-01 - 2002-06)

Department of Anatomy, Christian Medical College, Vellore, INDIA

Abstract

Eight different variables for the posterior border of 42 human hip bones were studied. Statistically significant differences were detected between means in relation to sex for 1 variable (length of the border between the posterior superior iliac spine and the superior border of the ischial tuberosity) and in relation to side for 2 variables (i) the length of the notch between the posterior inferior iliac spine and the ischial spine and (ii) the length of the border between the posterior superior iliac spine and the superior border of the ischial tuberosity). These variables could be used for sex determination and side determination from the human hip bone or its fragments.

Key words: Osteology, hip bone, biometry

Introduction:

The distinctive morphology of the human hip bone (os coxae) and its clear sexual dimorphism make it of interest from anatomical, anthropological and forensic points of view. Those authors who have studied this bone by osteometric methods have paid attention either to features relating to its total size or to those of various components, such as its inferior border, the greater sciatic notch, the symphysial surface, the acetabulum, the obturator foramen and the arcuate line (Verneau, 1875; Lazorthes & Lhez, 1939; Washburn 1948; Sauter & Privat, 1951/52; Martin & Saller, 1957; 1959; Olivier, 1960, 1965; Jovanovic & Zivanovic, 1965; Jevanovic, Zivanovic & Lotric, 1973; Singh & Potturi, 1978; Kelley, 1979; Orban-Segebarth, 1984; Leopold & Novotny, 1985; MacLaughlin & Bruce, 1986; Schutkowsky, 1986; Schulter-Ellis & Hayek, 1988; Tague, 1989; Budinoff & Tague, 1990; Milne, 1990). However, it was not possible to find any studies that set out to establish, by osteometric methods, the morphological pattern of the posterior border of human hip bone, or the possible influence of sexual dimorphism or side on its morphology. It was therefore decided to undertake the present study.

Material and Methods:

A random sample of 42 human hip bones from the Department of Anatomy, Christian Medical College, Vellore was used for this study. They were undamaged and showed no pathological alterations that could lead to error in measurement; 26 were from the right and 16 from the left; 27 were male and 15 female.

For each hip bone the following 8 variables (Fig. 1) on the posterior border of the bone were measured;

  1. The maximal width of the posterior border notch, i.e. the distance from the posterior superior iliac spine to the superior border of the ischial tuberosity (PSIS-IT);
  2. the distance from the posterior superior iliac spine to the ischial spine (PSIS-IS);
  3. the maximum width of the posterior interspinous notch, i.e. the distance from the posterior superior iliac spine to the posterior inferior iliac spine (PSIS-PIIS);
  4. the distance from the posterior inferior iliac spine to the ischial spine (PIIS-IS);
  5. the distance from the posterior inferior iliac spine to the superior border of the ischial tuberosity (PIISIT);
  6. the arch of the posterior interspinous notch, i.e. the length of the border between the posterior superior iliac spine and the posterior inferior iliac spine (arch PIN);
  7. the length of the notch between the posterior inferior iliac spine and the ischial spine (arch PIIS-IS);
  8. the arch of the posterior border, i.e. the length of the border between the posterior superior iliac spine and the superior border of the ischial tuberosity (arch PB).

Each variable was measured 2 times at 2 different sessions by the same observer and the mean value of the 2 measurements was calculated for each variable for each bone.

For the measurements of these variables a scale, a vernier and inextensible thread were used. In order to avoid measuring errors such as those reported by Clabeaux Geise (1986), the observations were made on days when the relative humidity was under 55%.

For each variable from the total sample (n = 42) the following statistical measures were obtained: maximum and minimum values, range, median, mean, mode, variance, standard deviation (S.D.), coefficient of variation (C.V.), standard error of the mean (S.E.M.), and 95% confidence limits of the mean.

The total sample was then subdivided by sex to obtain two subsamples, from the 15 females and 27 males, respectively. For each variable, its mean, S.D., S.E.M., maximum and minimum values were calculated. The existence of significant differences between the means (D) for the 2 subsamples (with an accuracy of 95% at least) was first analysed by comparing the equality of variances with Levene's F test (Brown & Forsythe, 1974) and then by Student's t test. Finally, the total sample was subdivided according to side (26 right, 16 left) and analysed in a similar way.

Results and Discussion:

Table I shows the mean (x), S.E.M., S.D. and the upper and lower 95% confidence limits of the mean (95% CI) for each variable for the total sample. Table II shows statistical data (x, S.E.M., S.D.) for the sex subsamples, and Table III those related to side.

TABLE 1 VALUES (VARIABLES IN MM) OBTAINED FROM THE TOTAL SAMPLE (N = 42)

Variable X S.D. S.E.M. 95% Cl
  Lower Upper
Distance PSIS-IT 94.11 7.94 1.22 91.72 96.52
Distance PSIS-IS 77.90 5.92 0.91 76.12 79.69
Distance PSIS-PIIS 26.78 6.54 1.01 24.81 28.77
Distance PIIS-IS 52.35 6.24 0.96 50.47 54.24
Distance PIIS-IT 62.28 7.98 1.23 65.87 70.70
Arch PIN 29.76 7.21 1.11 27.58 31.95
Arch PIIS-IS 84.64 8.88 1.37 81.96 87.33
Arch PB 126.95 13.13 2.02 122.98 130.92

TABLE II VALUES (VARIABLES IN MM) OBTAINED FROM THE SUBSAMPLES RELATED TO SEX

  Male (n = 27) Female (n = 15)
Variable X S.D. S.E.M. X S.D. S.E.M.
Distance PSIS-IT 94.81 7.94 1.52 92.86 8.06 2.08
Distance PSIS-IS 77.59 6.23 1.20 78.46 5.47 1.41
Distance PSIS-PIIS 27.63 6.68 1.28 25.26 6.21 1.60
Distance PIIS-IS 51.59 5.94 1.14 53.73 6.73 1.73
Distance PIIS-IT 67.88 7.24 1.39 69.00 9.41 2.43
Arch PIN 30.40 6.96 1.34 28.60 7.76 2.00
Arch PIIS-IS 86.63 8.27 1.59 81.06 9.08 2.34
Arch PB 131.33 9.88 1.90 119.06 14.82 3.82

TABLE III VALUES (VARIABLES IN MM) OBTAINED FROM THE SUBSAMPLES RELATED TO SIDE

  Right (n = 26) Left (n = 16)
Variable X S.D. S.E.M. X S.D. S.E.M.
Distance PSIS-IT 94.03 7.02 1.37 94.25 9.49 2.37
Distance PSIS-IS 78.69 5.57 1.09 76.62 6.42 1.60
Distance PSIS-PIIS 26.73 6.43 1.26 26.87 6.93 1.73
Distance PIIS-IS 53.42 6.54 1.28 50.62 5.47 1.36
Distance PIIS-IT 69.19 7.87 1.54 66.81 8.20 2.05
Arch PIN 29.84 1.37 7.01 29.62 7.77 1.94
Arch PIIS-IS 82.42 8.86 1.73 88.25 7.89 1.97
Arch PB 123.30 12.75 2.50 132.87 11.82 2.95

TABLE IV P VALUES FOR TEST OF EQUALITY OF VARIANCES (LEVENE) AND MEANS, RELATED TO SEX AND SIDE

  Sex Side
  Levene's
F test
Student's
t test
Levene's
F test
Student's
t test
Distance PSIS-IT 0.281 0.453 0.499 0.934
Distance PSIS-IS 0.339 0.652 0.015 0.277
Distance PSIS-PIIS 0.350 0.268 0.086 0.946
Distance PIIS-IS 0.064 0.292 0.205 0.161
Distance PIIS-IT 0.807 0.671 0.010 0.355
Arch PIN 0.001 0.444 0.405 0.925
Arch PIIS-IS 0.062 0.051 0.001 0.037*
Arch PB 8.613 0.003** 0.111 0.020*
* Significant at P<0.05, ** Significant at P<0.01, *** Significant at P<0.001

TABLE V STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES OF MEANS RELATED TO SEX AND SIDE FOR THE VARIOUS VARIABLES OF THE POSTERIOR BORDER OF HUMAN HIP BONES (N = 42)

  Male (n=17)
95% Cl
Female (n=15)
95% Cl
Differences between means
95% Cl
Variable Xm Lower Upper Xf Lower Upper D S.E.D. Lower Upper P Value
Arch PB 131 127 135 119 111 126 12 3.8 4.5 19.9 0.003**
  Male (n=26)
95% Cl
Female (n=16)
95% Cl
Differences between means
95% Cl
Variable Xr Lower Upper Xl Lower Upper D S.E.D. Lower Upper P value
Arch PIIS-IS 82 79 85 88 84 92 5.87 2.7 0.35 11.2 0.037*
Arch PB 123 118 128 132 127 138 9.5 3.9 1.5 17.5 0.020*

* Significant at P<0.05; ** Significant at P<0.01; *** Significant at P<0.001 Xm, means for male; Xf, means for female; Xr, means for right; Xl, means for left; Cl-95% confidence limits of the mean; D, difference of means, S.E.D. Standard error of the means; P value, P value for Student's t test

Table IV shows the significance levels, i.e. P values for the statistics F (Levene) and Student's t tests, obtained from the subsamples by sex and by side. Table V shows the statistical data (xm, 95% Cl, xf, 95% Cl, xr, 95% Cl, xl, 95% Cl, D, S.E. of the differences between the means , 95% CI, P value) for the variables with statistically significant differences of means related to sex and to side.

From the observations given in Table IV and V, statistically significant differences between means related to sex were detected for 1 of the variables (arch PB), and statistically significant differences between means related to side were detected for 2 of the variables (arch PIIS-IS) and (arch PB); hence they could be used for sexing human skeletal remains or to determine the side when the posterior border of the hip bone is undamaged.

Among these variables, the lowest probability of error (P<0.01) for demonstrating a statistically significant difference between the means related to sex is shown by the length of the border between the posterior superior iliac spine and the superior border of the ischial tuberosity (arch PB). This is the best of the variables studied for sexing human skeletal remains. Statistically significant difference between the means related to side were seen in the variables of the length of the notch between the posterior inferior iliac spine and the ischial spine, arch PIIS-IS (P< 0.05) and length of the border between the posterior superior iliac spine and the superior border of the ischial tuberosity, arch PB (P<0.05).

References:

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  2. Budinoff, L.C. & Tague, R.G. (1990): Anatomical and developmental bases for the ventral arc of the human pubis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 82: pp. 73-79.
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  4. Jovanovic, S; & Zivanovic, S. (1965): The establishment of the sex by the great sciatic notch. Acta Anatomica. 61: pp. 101-107.
  5. Jovanovic, S; Zivanovic, S. & Lotric, N. (1973): A study of sex determined characteristics of the hip bone in pathologically deformed pelves using the method of Sauter and Privat. Acta Anatomica. 84: pp. 62-70.
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Fig. 1 Diagram illustrating variables studied. A, variables 1 (distance PSIS-IT), (distance PIIS-IT), 8 (arch PB).

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B, variables 2 (distance PSIS-IS), 4 (distance PIIS-IS), 6 (arch PIN).

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C, variables 3 (distance PSIS-PIIS), 7 (arch PIIS-IS).

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