Activity: Talks and presentations › Talks and presentations in private or public companies
In investigations of the biology of human populations of the past it is often of central importance to obtain reliable estimates of living stature. In cases where no written records exist, such estimates have often been based on linear regression employing long bone lengths as independent variables. However, the reliablility of regression procedures have been questioned (e.g., Petersen, 2005), partly because of the problem of identifying appropriate reference populations. Instead, it has been proposed (Boldsen, 1984) to use skeletal length in the grave as an estimate of living stature, in cases where the deceased has been placed in an extended supine position. The procedure was evaluated (Petersen, 2005) using statures reconstructed anatomically according to Fully, as standard proxies for real living statures. The material consisted of 20 skeletons of adults from a Medieval Danish cemetery. For all individuals skeletal length in the grave was measured during excavation, and the skeletons were all complete enough for employing Fully's method. Recently, Raxter et al. (2006) have called into question Fully's procedure, arguing convincingly that it leads to biased stature estimates. This conclusion of course also affects the applicability of the skeletal length in the grave (Ruff, pers. com. 2006). Furthermore, the actual procedure for measuring the skeletal elements used in Fully's method, e.g. the measurement of the ankle bones, have been questioned (Raxter et al., 2006; Ruff, pers. com. 2006). As a consequence, a restudy of the material from Petersen (2005) was conducted in order to evaluate the potential bias of the use of skeletal length in the grave for estimating stature, taking into account also the criticism of the measuring procedures for the skeletal elements used in Fully's method. The presentation will give the results of the restudy as well as propositions for improving the reliability of using skeletal length in the grave as an estimate for living stature.
Emneord: Stature estimation, human osteologi