Background: Palatal rugae have been shown to be associated with racial and geographical variations and are known to be useful in sex identification. The present study aimed to assess palatal rugae patterns in a sample Iranian population and to compare the results with those from other studied populations.Methods: During summer 2017, 130 pre-orthodontic plaster casts from patients aged 17-25 years (65 males and 65 females) were obtained from the Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran. The castes were evaluated using the classification given by Thomas and Kotze followed by recording the rugae lengths and shapes. The data were analyzed with the SPSS statistical software package (version 15.0) using the unpaired t test and Chi-square test. P<0.05 were considered statistically significant. Additionally, discriminant function analysis was applied to determine the applicability of palatal rugae patterns as a tool to aid sex identification.Results: The rugae count showed an insignificant difference between the Iranian males and females. The primary rugae were most common in both sexes followed by the secondary and fragmentary. Significant differences were observed between the sexes and the number of primary rugae in males (P=0.03) and fragmentary rugae in females (P=0.04) on the left side of the palate. A significant difference in the straight and diverging unification types was observed, which was highest in males (P=0.01) and females (P=0.03), respectively. Discriminant function analysis enabled sex identification with an accuracy of 70%. Conclusion: Palatal rugae is shown to be an appropriate tool for sex identification in an Iranian population. Further studies with a larger sample size are required for a comprehensive outcome.