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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 46-51

A retrospective study to evaluate the morphometry of the foramen magnum and its role in forensic science in a nigerian population of Delta State

Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Beryl Shitandi Ominde
Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology, Delta State University, P.M.B. 1, Abraka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfsm.jfsm_41_21

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Background: Sexual dimorphism of the foramen magnum has increased its interest in forensic science. Gender determination is an important preliminary step in the identification of unknown skeletal remains. This study aimed at determining the dimensions of the foramen magnum in Delta State Nigeria and their role in gender discrimination. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively analyzed computed tomographic images of 336 patients (199 males and 137 females) aged ≥18 years, archived in the Radiology Department of a Teaching Hospital in Nigeria. Ethical approval was granted by the hospital's ethical board. The length, width, and area of the foramen magnum were measured and analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software version 23. We used an independent t-test and analysis of variance to evaluate the association of these dimensions with sex and age, respectively. The percentage accuracy of sex discrimination and the association between variables were assessed using discriminant functional analysis and Pearson's correlation test correspondingly. The results were considered significant at P < 0.05. Results: The foramen magnum length, width, and area showed a statistically significant gender difference (P < 0.05). The width was the best sex discriminating variable (64.3%) and the overall accuracy of correct sex allocation using all the variables was 75%. All the parameters measured showed a significant strong positive correlation with each other (0.5 ≤ r < 1, P < 0.05). Conclusion: The foramen magnum length width and area were sexually dimorphic. Their high overall accuracy (75%) in gender discrimination implies that they may collectively be utilized in the sex estimation of unknown skulls in Delta State Nigeria.

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