Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

William M. Bass

Committee Members

R.L. Jantz, P.S. Willey


Stature reconstruction is an important feature of any skeletal analysis including population studies, early hominid research, and personal identification. In 1978, Musgrave and Harneja provided formulae for the estimation of stature using metacarpal lengths. The sample in that study included white males and females, predominantly of British origin who had an injured hand presented for radiography. The study did not include both hands from the same individual, only the injured hand. In facing a human identification case involving only a partial hand, these formulae were applied. A test of Musgrave and Harneja (1978) stature formulae was conducted on known skeletons and found to be lacking. As a result of that case, a new study was deemed necessary based on modern Americans including whites and blacks of both genders. Formulae for the estimation of stature based on metacarpal lengths are presented. Two measurements are taken on all ten metacarpals of 212 (56 white males, 48 white females, 53 black males, 55 black females) individuals with known stature from the Terry Collection. A modern sample included radiographs of both left and right hands of 55 males (25 white, 30 black) of known stature. The strength of the relationship between metacarpal length and stature is determined for both the Terry Collection sample and the modern sample. Bone length is regressed on stature to estimate equations for stature estimation for the Terry Collection.

Analysis of variance is employed to test for equality of slopes and adjusted means between the Terry collection males and the modern sample. The variables that are not significantly different in slopes and adjusted means allow pooling of the Terry Collection males with the modern male sample. New equations for males stature estimation are derived and presented. The equations based on the Terry collection females can be used with caution for the estimations of stature in a modern female population.

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Anthropology Commons