The influence of age on greater sciatic notch morphology: testing the Walker method in an Australian population

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sex estimation is an integral aspect of a forensic biological profile. The pelvis, being the most dimorphic part of the skeleton, has been studied in considerable detail relative to morphological and metric variation. However, empirical data on the effect of age on pelvic morphology relative to sex-specific morphological variation is limited, especially in regard to the estimation of skeletal sex. This study assesses whether there are age-related differences in the distribution of the Walker (2005) morphological scores for the greater sciatic notch (GSN) in an Australian population. Three-dimensional volumetric reconstructions derived from multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) scans of 567 pelves of 258 females and 309 males aged 18 to 96 years were scored following Walker (2005). Differences in score distributions and means by sex and age group were tested using Pearson’s chi-squared test and ANOVA, respectively. The accuracy of sex estimates derived from logistic regression equations was explored using leave-one-out cross-validation. Significant differences were found in score distribution and means among age groups in females, but not in males. There was a tendency toward higher scores in older females. The overall sex estimation accuracy was 87.5%. When comparing age groups 18–49 and 70 + years, estimation accuracy decreased in females (99% vs. 91%), while the opposite was found for males (79% vs. 87%). These findings suggest that age affects GSN morphology. Higher mean scores in older females imply that, on average, the GSN becomes narrower with increasing age. It is thus recommended due consideration of estimated age when assessing sex based on the GSN in unidentified human remains.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Apr 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of age on greater sciatic notch morphology: testing the Walker method in an Australian population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this