Present address: Department of Anthropology, CA Pound Human Identification Lab, University of Florida, 1112 Turlington Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611.
A Re-examination of Cremains Weight: Sex and Age Variation in a Northern California Sample*
Article first published online: 25 JAN 2011
© 2011 American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Journal of Forensic Sciences
Volume 56, Issue 2, pages 344–349, March 2011
How to Cite
Van Deest, T. L., Murad, T. A. and Bartelink, E. J. (2011), A Re-examination of Cremains Weight: Sex and Age Variation in a Northern California Sample. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 56: 344–349. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2010.01658.x
Presented at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 19–24, 2007, in San Antonio, TX.
- Issue published online: 22 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 25 JAN 2011
- Received 23 Nov. 2009; and in revised form 2 Feb. 2010; accepted 28 Feb. 2010.
- forensic science;
- forensic anthropology;
- cremains weight;
- sex estimation;
- regional variation
Abstract: The reduction of modern commercially cremated remains into a fine powder negates the use of traditional methods of skeletal analysis. The literature on the use of cremains weight for estimating aspects of the biologic profile is limited, often with conflicting results. This study re-evaluates the value of weight in the assessment of biologic parameters from modern cremated remains. A sample of adults was collected in northern California (n = 756), with a cremains weight averaging 2737.1 g. Males were significantly heavier than females ( = 3233.2 g versus = 2238.3 g, respectively; p < 0.001). Comparison of this sample with other previously reported samples from southern California, Florida, and Tennessee indicates a consistent sex difference, with the most similar mean values to the Tennessee study. Although cremains weight decreases with age as expected, the relationship is weak; thus, cremains weight cannot accurately predict age-at-death. While sex estimation shows considerable accuracy (86.3% for males and 80.9% for females), sectioning points may be population specific.