Author(s): Abledu JK, Abledu GK, Offei EB, Antwi EM
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Abstract The present study sought to verify the utility and reliability of footprint dimensions in sex determination in a Ghanaian population. Bilateral footprints were obtained from 126 Ghanaian students (66 males and 60 females) aged 18-30 years at Koforidua Polytechnic using an ink pad and white papers. Seven dimensions-length of each toe (designated T1-T5) from the most anterior point of the toe to the mid-rear heel point, breadth at ball (BAB) and breadth at heel (BAH)--and the heel-ball (HB) index were obtained from each footprint. Some footprint dimensions (i.e. T2, T3, T4 and T5) showed statistically significant bilateral asymmetry in males only. All the footprint dimensions, except HB index, were significantly greater in males than females (p<0.001). Applied singly in discriminant function analysis, the footprint dimensions allowed 69.8\%-80.3\% of cases to be correctly classified into their sex groups; the accuracy of sex classification was higher using left footprints than right footprints. With all dimensions subjected to stepwise discriminant function analysis 80.3\% and 77\% of cases could be correctly classified, combining both T5 and BAH for left footprints and T1, BAB and BAH for left footprints respectively. The present study has demonstrated, for the first time among Ghanaian subjects, the utility and reliability of sex determination standards developed from footprint dimensions. The results thus provide the baseline for elaborated studies in the future.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Forensic Research