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Stature Reconstruction Using Fragmentary Femora in South Africans of European Descent

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Abstract: 

It is well documented that the intact femur has the highest correlation with stature and as such has been widely used in the derivation of regression equations for stature estimation. As intact femur is not always present for analyses in forensic cases, it has become necessary to derive regression equations for the estimation of stature from fragments of this bone. Few studies have presented regression equations for stature estimation from fragments of the femur. Because these equations are population specific, it was the aim of this study to derive similar equations for estimation of stature and maximum length of femur from measurements of the femur of South Africans of European descent. A sample of 50 male and 50 female complete skeletons were obtained from the Raymond A. Dart Collection of Human Skeletons. Total skeletal height for each of the skeletons was calculated using the Fully’s method. Six variables were measured on each femur which included the vertical neck diameter, upper breadth of femur, epicondylar breadth, bicondylar breadth, lateral condyle length, and medial condyle length. Regression equations for the estimation of stature are presented. The range of standard error of estimate for these equations (3.71–5.31) was slightly higher than those obtained for intact long bones (2.13–3.79). It is therefore suggested that in the absence of intact femur, regression equations derived from the present study can provide a reliable estimate of adult stature.
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Keywords: South Africa; forensic anthropology; forensic science; fragmentary femur; stature

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Parktown 2193, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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