Weight of the skeleton during postnatal development


  • Supported by grant HD-02619, U.S.P.H.S.


The weight of all bones and the length of humeri, radii, femora and tibiae have been determined in a series of 150 dry, fat-free skeletons from American Whites and Negroes of both sexes, ranging in age from 23 days to 22 years. Six skeletons were eliminated from the series because of evidence of previous illness. A comparison of the lengths of femur plus tibia of this series with the mean statures of a large series of living children at given ages indicates similarity in the growth patterns. Statistical analyses of the data show that the skeletal weight cannot be estimated reliably from age by cither an exponential growth equation or by a logistic function. The weight of the skeleton, however, is related to the lengths of the measured limb bones by allometric equations, and such equations involving each of the four bones are presented for estimation of skeletal weight in the living. Although the standard errors of estimate of the equations based on lengths of each of these four bones differ very little, the radius is recommended over the other three because it is more readily accessible in the living for a roentgenogram and its shadow on the film shows least distortion.