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Stature Estimation of 3–10-Year-Old Children from Long Bone Lengths


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Shelley L. Smith, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Texas at Arlington
Box 19599
Arlington, TX 76019


ABSTRACT: Estimation of stature in adult forensic cases with available long bones of the limbs is routine, but such estimation is less common in subadult cases. Long bones from subadult cases are often used to estimate age, but in some instances stature may be helpful or even critical for identification. Few published regression equations exist for consultation in such cases. Data from the longitudinal growth study conducted by the Child Research Council in Denver in the mid-1900s are utilized to produce dual-sex and single-sex regression equations for the six long bones of the limbs (humerus, radius, ulna, femur, tibia, and fibula) and for the combined femur+tibia length. All measurements are from radiographs and are of diaphyseal length. Examples show that similar results can be obtained using a two-step process of “ballpark” estimation from published tables of the Denver data, but these new regressions allow a one-step standard error estimate for the means. Regressions are further compared with those previously published by Finnish researchers, which are generally broadly comparable. More routine stature estimation in subadult cases is encouraged both as an aid to possible identification and as a test of the available regression equations.