How to put a name to a (skull) face Part 2- Gender.

November 13, 2012

And for part 2 in our exploration of putting a name to a skull face today we are talking about…..

…Sexing a skull

We promise this is nowhere near as lewd as it sounds.  Or as fun… no actually take that last bit back, everything to do with skulls is fun!
So as with the skull of Ned Kelly we looked at previously, it is pretty unlikely to find a skull with a big beard or a pretty bow in its hair to tell us whether it is male or female.  That doesn’t mean that a skull can’t tell you what gender it is though.


There are a few factors which can help in indicating the gender such as overall size and weight, bone thickness and size of the cranial vault (brain box) but these are not necessarily as accurate as the other features you can check.

Picture credit here

Two of these features can be seen on the skull diagram above and they are supraorbital ridges and mastoid process.  The mastoid process is basically a bump at the back of the temporal bone that is obviously developed in the male (left) but small or absent as seen with the female on the right.  The supraorbital ridge, or brow ridge, is above the eyes under where your eyebrows sit (hence the name!).  In males there is an obvious bump or ridge here, whereas in females it is less obvious and again, often smooth or non existent.
There is also often a difference in the shape of the jaw with that on a male being more squared and a female being more rounded, and the same trend often rings true with the eye sockets as seen more obviously in the front on picture below.

Picture credit here


Hope you learned something here, we sure did.  Happy skull sexing!!


  1. I love bones and collect any I find on country walks – clean and dried ones, I hasten to add. Since a young age, I have wanted to own a human skull. I cannot afford even a good replica, so I settled for a beaver skull from ebay! Cool blog! Thanks for following me on Twitter.

    • Hey, This is a really fascinating post, I’ve always had an interest for skulls, although I’m always searching for information or research relating to the shape or the structure of the skull itself. It’s interesting to discover the differences between the male and female skull, great post.

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