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Classification Trends among Contemporary Filipino Crania Using Fordisc 3.1

Matthew C. Go, Ansley R. Jones, Bridget F. B. Algee-Hewitt, Beatrix Dudzik, Cris E. Hughes


Filipinos represent a significant contemporary demographic group globally, yet they are underrepresented in the forensic anthropological literature. Given the complex population history of the Philippines, it is important to ensure that traditional methods for assessing the biological profile are appropriate when applied to these peoples. Here we analyze the classification trends of a modern Filipino sample (n = 110) when using the Fordisc 3.1 (FD3) software. We hypothesize that Filipinos represent an admixed population drawn largely from Asian and marginally from European parental gene pools, such that FD3 will classify these individuals morphometrically into reference samples that reflect a range of European admixture, in quantities from small to large. Our results show the greatest classification into Asian reference groups (72.7%), followed by Hispanic (12.7%), Indigenous American (7.3%), African (4.5%), and European (2.7%) groups included in FD3. This general pattern did not change between males and females. Moreover, replacing the raw craniometric values with their shape variables did not significantly alter the trends already observed. These classification trends for Filipino crania provide useful information for casework interpretation in forensic laboratory practice. Our findings can help biological anthropologists to better understand the evolutionary, population historical, and statistical reasons for FD3-generated classifications. The results of our study indicate that ancestry estimation in forensic anthropology would benefit from population-focused research that gives consideration to histories of colonialism and periods of admixture.


forensic anthropology, admixture, ancestry estimation, postcolonialism, Fordisc 3.1, Philippines

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