The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)


Can we refine body mass estimations based on femoral head breadth?

MARKKU NISKANEN1, CHRIS RUFF2, BRIGITTE HOLT3, VLADIMIR SLADEK4, MARGIT BERNER5, JUHO-ANTTI JUNNO1 and HELI MAIJANEN6.

1Archaeology, University of Oulu, 2Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 3Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 4Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Charles University, Prague, 5Department of Anthropology, Natural History Museum, Vienna, 6Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee Knoxville

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Femoral head breadth (FHB) is widely used in body mass (BM) estimation in biological anthropology. Our earlier study (Ruff et al., 2012. Am J Phys Anthropol 148:601-617) demonstrated that reduced major axis (RMA) equation performs better than least squares (LS) equation. However, experiments with our pan-European Late Pleistocene and Holocene dataset (BM is represented by estimates provided by stature / bi-iliac breadth method of Ruff et al., 2012. J Hum Evol 48:381-392) as well as with the W. M. Bass Donated Skeletal Collection data demonstrate that BM of small individuals are still slightly overestimated and those of large ones underestimated. Including stature (estimated from skeletal height or even from long bone lengths) in an equation reduces this directional bias somewhat, but this improved prediction precision is noticeably only at extremes of size variation. A simple RMA-equation to estimate body size from FHB based on a large reference data is thus sufficient in most cases.

This study was funded by National Science Foundation and Academy of Finland