Testing for multiple species in fossil samples: An evaluation and comparison of tests for equal relative variation



Tests for equal relative variation are valuable and frequently used tools for evaluating hypotheses about taxonomic heterogeneity in fossil hominids. In this study, Monte Carlo methods and simulated data are used to evaluate and compare 11 tests for equal relative variation. The tests evaluated include CV-based parametric bootstrap tests, modifications of Levene's test, and modified weighted scores tests. The results of these simulations show that a modified version of the weighted scores test developed by Fligner and Killeen ([1976] J. Am. Stat. Assoc. 71:210–213) is the only test that maintains an acceptable balance of type I and type II errors, even under conditions where all other tests have extraordinarily high type I error rates or little power. Am J Phys Anthropol 108:507–529, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.