Updated lower limb stature estimation equations for a South African population group

Keywords: living stature, estimation, forensic anthropology, MRI scanogram

Abstract

One of the main steps in the identification of an unknown person, from their skeletal remains, is the estimation of stature. Measurements of intact long bones of the upper and lower extremities are widely used for this purpose because of the high correlation that exists between these bones and stature. In 1987, Lundy and Feldesman presented regression equations for stature estimation for the black South African population group based on measurements of bones from the Raymond A. Dart Collection of Human Skeletons. Local anthropologists have questioned the validity of these equations. Living stature measurement and magnetic resonance imaging scanograms of 58 adult volunteers (28 males and 30 females) representing the modern black South African population group were obtained. Physiological length of the femur (FEPL) and physiological length of the tibia (TPL) were measured on each scanogram and substituted into appropriate equations of Lundy and Feldesman (S Afr J Sci. 1987;83:54–55) to obtain total skeletal height (TSHL&F). Measured total skeletal height (TSHMeas) for each subject from scanograms was compared with TSHL&F. Both FEPL and TPL presented with significantly high positive correlations with TSHMeas. A comparison between TSHL&F and TSHMeas using a paired t-test, showed a statistically significant difference – an indication of non-validity of Lundy and Feldesman’s equations. New regression equations for estimation of living stature were formulated separately for male and female subjects. The standard error of estimate was low, which compared well with those reported for other studies that used long limb bones.

Significance:

  • Statistically significant differences were observed between measured and estimated skeletal height, thus confirming non-validity of Lundy and Fieldsman’s (1987) equations for lower limb bones.
  • New regression equations for living stature estimation were formulated for femur and tibia lengths, and the low standard error of estimates of equations compared well to results from other studies.
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Published
2020-05-27