The Importance of Stature Estimation Essay

The Importance of Stature Estimation Essay

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Webster-Mirriam defines stature as the natural height (as of an individual) in an upright position. Estimating stature is important for individualization in forensic cases and mass disasters. Along with assessments of age, sex, and ancestry, stature estimation assists a forensic anthropologist in building the biological profile of an unidentified decedent (DiGangi, Moore). Research has shown that measurement of the lengths of the long bones is the most useful for estimation of living stature of an individual when the full skeleton is not available (DiGangi, Moore). According to DiGangi and Moore, the following generalizations can be made when considering stature estimation:
• Stature in humans increases until adulthood and tends to decrease with advancing age after about 45 years
• There is considerable variation within a single population
• On average, male stature is greater than female stature
• Studies by Li et al., 2004; MacGregor et al., 2006; Perola et al., 2007 have shown that 65% to 90% of stature is due to inheritance
• Living stature should be estimated only after age, sex, and ancestry have been assessed due to varying levels of sexual dimorphism, growth, skeletal generation and population variation
The need for reliable methods for identification of unknown remains became clearer in the aftermath of WWII when attempts were made to identify the remains of deceased soldiers. Extensive work in estimating stature from skeletal remains was done using remains of WWII as sample sets.
The two main methods of estimating stature from skeletal remains are the anatomical and regression methods. The anatomical method measures all bones that directly contribute to stature and then uses a correction factor to account for so...

... middle of paper ...

... by Raxter et. al., indicate that stature estimations using the anatomical method are strongly correlated to living statures, however due to systematic bias, underestimations of nearly 2.4 cm are often seen (Raxter et. al., 2006). The major disadvantage of Fully’s anatomical method is that all of the contributing skeletal elements must be present for measurement which is not always the case in mass disasters, archaeological or forensic casework. When nearly full skeletons are available, however, this method is strongly correlated to living stature and gives a closer estimation to actual height than other methods (Raxter). Even with the disadvantages of this method, Ousley has stated that “…the best possible estimate of biological stature from the skeleton would be the Fully method or a variation thereof, since it incorporates all skeletal components of stature”.

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