Bilateral Asymmetry of Nutrient Foramen Position in the Human Femur and Tibia

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Sara B. Mead
Angi M. Christensen


Sorting commingled human remains can be a challenging and time-consuming task, and methods that can be performed quickly and inexpensively are desirable in forensic investigations. This study examines the degree of bilateral asymmetry in nutrient foramen position in the femur and tibia to determine its usefulness in pair-matching and osteometric sorting. Differences in nutrient foramen position between left-right pairs of the same person (bilateral asymmetry) were compared to differences in nutrient foramen position between different individuals. Bilateral asymmetry was found to be very high, with variation in position being similar to that between different individuals, indicating that nutrient foramen position in the femur and tibia is not a useful sorting feature. These results are similar to those found in a recent study of bilateral asymmetry of nutrient foramen position of the radius and ulna, with both studies indicating that other methods should be utilized when sorting commingled remains.

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