The long and short of it : the reliability and inter-populational applicability of stature regression equations Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rn301385g

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  • In this thesis, stature reconstruction of three prehistoric/protohistoric Native American populations (from Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and South Dakota) was performed using the Fully Anatomical method in order to formulate regression equations and analyze the ability of regression equations of other researchers to accurately estimate the statures within my study populations. The calculation of regression equations demonstrated that even though there was a significant difference in the statures of the three populations, they were similar enough in body proportions such that regression equations from the pooled sample could be used to accurately estimate statures from all three groups as well as 12 randomly chosen individuals from outside the study sample. Results of statures calculated using the regression formulae of other researchers on my sample populations forced me to conclude that there is too much variation between populations to allow for much inter-populational applicability except in those cases where the populations are similar enough in proportion. For my study groups, the best equations for estimating statures (besides the ones formulated specifically for them) were those of Sciulli et al. for Ohio native Americans, followed closely by Trotter and Gleser's 1952 and 1958 equations. The femur/stature ratio of Feldesman et al (1990) performed relatively poorly, and the formulae of Genoves' for Mesoamericans (1967) were the least accurate. While individual statures may be more highly influenced by genes, the mean statures of populations or homogeneous geographical groups is more controlled by common levels of nutrition, stress, and environment of the individuals within that group. The Arikara were the tallest population: the female mean of that group were as tall as the male means from both the Alaskan and Aleutian populations. The populations in this study differed in their degree of sexual dimorphism, with the Arikara individuals showing the greatest stature difference and dimorphism between males and females. The distal limb bones of the arms and the legs of the individuals from both Alaska and the Aleutian Islands show significant shortening when compared to those of the Arikara, supporting "biogeographical" rules of human adaptations to chronically cold environments. The results of this study illustrate how important it is for researchers to keep studying (and publishing regression equations for) statures of prehistoric and historic populations. Until someone develops a formulae that can truly be applied to populations everywhere-as the femur/stature ratio and the line of organic correlation attempted to-there is too much variation between groups to allow researchers to continue to apply equations not applicable to their population.
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