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Masters Students

Sadiyah Malek


Thesis Title: Improving current sex estimation standards for application in Khoesan populations
Supervisors: A/Prof Victoria Gibbon; Prof Judith Sealy (Department of Archaeology, UCT)

Thesis Description: Biological sex estimation of the skeleton is a key element in both forensic anthropology and bioarchaeology and serves many purposes: individual identification, assessing dietary influences, risks of disease and trauma and understanding past gender roles, amongst others. Multiple methods have been developed to estimate sex but the problem with these is that they tend to be highly population-specific, resulting in decreases in accuracy are when applied to individuals of other populations. Presently, no sex estimation standards exist for the Khoesan population. Due to the characteristic active lifestyle and markedly gracile, small-statured bodies of the Khoesan population, sexual dimorphic differences that generally distinguish sexes are less dominant. This leads to misclassifications when existing sexing techniques are applied, highlighting the need for the development of a Khoesan-specific sexing standard. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of current sex estimation standards when applied to a Khoesan assemblage, and through this, aims to create new Khoesan-specific standards by identifying and adapting methods that work best. Khoesan-specific sex estimation standards could improve identification rates in forensic scenarios, as well as set a precedent for sex estimation in other populations that face similar problems or exhibit anatomically similar features to those seen in Khoesan populations.

Contact details: Email

Graduated Masters Students

2021. Athi Baliso. MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). Identification of the deceassed: A retrospective review of Forensic Anthroplogy Cape Town casework. Supervisors: A/Prof Victoria Gibbon &Dr. Laura Heathfield.

2020. Tarryn Haikney. MPhil (Pathology). Investigation into DNA recovered from human teeth for forensic applications. Supervisors: Dr. Laura Heathfield & A/Prof Victoria Gibbon.

2020. Christie Putter MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). Black River Excavation: A forensic anthropological investigation of the skeletal remains recovered from a historic cemetery. Supervisors: Dr Jacqui Friedling & Dr Mary Patrick.

2019. Tafadzwa Tawha. MPhil (Pathology). Geometric morphometric analyses to assess the accuracy of the zygoma for estimating ancestry in a South African population. Supervisors: A/Prof Victoria Gibbon, Elizabeth Dinkele & Calvin Mole.

2019. Kyle Paulssen. MSc (Med) (Anatomy). Axillary web syndrome after treatment for breast cancer: a correlation of clinical variables with imaging data focusing on fascial changes before and after physiotherapy treatment. Supervisors: A/Prof Delva Shamley & Dr. Charles Slater.

2018. Elizabath Dinkele.MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). Ancestral variation in mid-craniofacial morphology of a South African sample. Supervisor: Dr Jacqui Friedling.

2018. Chandra Longden-Thurgood. MPhil (Pathology). Optimisation of DNA Extraction from Teeth Submerged in Seawater in False Bay, South Africa. Supervisor: A/Prof Victoria Gibbon & Dr. Laura Heathfield.

2018. Liesl Arendse. MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). Stature estimation: Evaluating regression formulae for different population groups in South Africa. Supervisor: Dr. Jacqui Friedling.

2016. Schwab Petra. MPhil (Pathology). The importance of a protocol in the recovery and handling of burned human remains in a forensic context. Supervisors: Dr. Jacqui Friedling and Dr. S Maistry.

2015. Clarke Carrie. MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). Does variation in facial fatness affect soft tissue thickness standards? Supervisors: Prof. Alan G. Morris and Dr. Jacqui Friedling.

2014. Du Toit Francesca. MSc (Med) (Applied Anatomy). Circulus arteriosus cerebri: Anatomical variations and their correlation to cerebral aneurysms. Supervisor: Prof. Graham Louw.

2014. Sadler Max. MSc (Med) (Applied Anatomy). Variations in the insertions of tibialis posterior muscle and the structure of the medial longitudinal arch. Supervisor: Prof. Graham Louw.

2013. Maass Petra. MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). The bony pelvis: With specific attention to the areas of occurrence of the scars of parturition. Supervisor: Dr. Jacqui Friedling.

2013. Meyer Anja. MSc (Biological Anthropology). An assessment of metabolic bone disease in the skeletal remains of Chinese indentured mine labourers from the Witwatersrand. Supervisors: Prof. Maryna Steyn and Prof. Alan G. Morris. University of Pretoria.

2013. Rip da Silva. MSc (Med) (Applied Anatomy). Anatomical study of the variation in the branching patterns and histology of the aorta in a South African population. Supervisors: Dr Geney Gunston and Dr R Alexander.

2013. Van der Berg Kerri. MSc (Med) (Applied Anatomy). An investigation of the brachial plexus and surrounding anatomical structures in a Southern African cadaver sample. Supervisor: Prof. Graham Louw.

2012. Speed Belinda. MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). South African standards for age estimation of children between 0 and 13 years using radiographs of the hand and wrist. Supervisor: Prof. Alan G. Morris.

2010. Rossouw Lache. MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). A forensic anthropological investigation of skeletal remains recovered from a 1000 year old archaeological site in North-western Namibia. Supervisor: Prof. Alan G. Morris.

2010. Dembetembe Kundisai. MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). Age estimation using epiphyseal closure at the wrist joint: an investigation of individuals of African origin, age 14 to 22.  Supervisor: Prof. Alan G. Morris.

2008. Gangata Hope. MSc (Med) (Applied Anatomy). An investigation into the parameters related to the equinus ankle in children with hemiplegic and diplegic forms of cerebral palsy. Supervisor: Supervisor: Prof. Graham Louw.

2008. Jenkins C. MPhil (Orthopaedics). Can a ‘one off’ physiotherapy intervention help patients who have difficulty kneeling after unicompartmental knee arthroplasty? Supervisor: Dr. Delva Shamley. Oxford Brookes University.

2008. Manyaapelo Thabang. MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). An odontological analysis of 18th and 19th century burials from in and around Cape Town. Supervisor: Prof. Alan G. Morris.

2006. Dlamini Nonhlanhla. MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). An assessment of the health status by non-specific stress indicators of the early farming populations from central and southern Africa. Supervisor: Prof. Alan G. Morris.

2003. Friedling L Jacqui. MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). Dental modification practices on the Cape Flats in the Western Cape. Supervisor: Prof. Alan G. Morris.

2002. Sanders Victoria. MSc. (Med) (Applied Anatomy). An assessment of muscle insertion sites and biomechanical beam analysis in living subjects. Supervisors: Prof. Alan G. Morris and Prof. Graham Louw.

2000. Nyati L. MSc (Med) (Applied Anatomy). Cross-sectional observations of growth and maturation in children with Down Syndrome. MSc, University of Pretoria. Supervisors:  Prof. Maryna Steyn and Prof. Graham Louw.

1998. Apollonio H. MA (Med) (Archaeology). Identifying the dead: 18th century mortuary practices at Cobern Street, Cape Town. Supervisors: Prof. Martin Hall and Prof. Alan G. Morris.

1997. Botha W. MSc (Med) (Biomedical Engineering). An anthropometric survey of female nurses working in the Western Cape: implications for equipment and workspace design. Supervisors: Bob Bridges and Prof. Alan G. Morris.

1994. Bell Christine. MSc (Med) (Applied Anatomy). Clinically-defined osteoarthritis, sex and age: their influence on the geometry, morphology and biomechanics of the upper cervical spine. Supervisor: Prof. Alan G. Morris.

1993. Kovacs Jonathan. MSc (Med) (Biological Anthropology). The post-cranial remains of Papio ursinus and fossil baboons from South African Australopithecine sites. Supervisor: Prof. Alan G. Morris.

1989. Patrick Mary K. MA (Med) (Archaeology). An archaeological and anthropological study of the human skeletal remains from the Oakhurst Rock Shelter, George, Cape Province, South Africa. Supervisor: Prof. Alan G. Morris.