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FORDISC and the determination of ancestry from craniometric data

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
FORDISC is a computer program designed to determine ancestry from human skeletal remains. It is widely used, yet its accuracy has been challenged. In this study, 200 specimens from one of FORDISC's reference samples are used to investigate four issues that are central to debate: (1) the inclusion of the source population in the reference sample, (2) the influence of sex, (3) the impact of variable number, and (4) the effect of different anatomical regions. The results indicate that the source population must be present and the sex of the specimen known before FORDISC can provide an accurate determination of ancestry. Additionally, a determination will be successful only if more than 10 measurements pertaining to multiple anatomical regions are used. Even when these conditions are met, few determinations may be considered unambiguously correct. Overall, FORDISC performed below expectations and the results suggest that the program should be used cautiously.
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