Previous studies have demonstrated the need for regionally specific stature estimation formulae due to the geographical specificity of limb proportionality related to the effects of environmental pressures on growth and development. High-altitude Andean populations have often been neglected in the creation of these formulae. This study uses a hybrid approach to create linear regression formulae for stature estimation and test their accuracy when compared previously published formulae traditionally used in Andean bioarchaeology.
Materials and methods:
We studied a sample from a high-altitude Andean population to create linear regression formulae based on anatomical estimates of stature from the femur, tibia, and calcaneus and compare the newly created formulae with those traditionally employed in Andean bioarchaeology. We also examine the reliability of calcanei in stature estimation by creating and testing regression formulae based on metrics from that element.
We include specific formulae accurate to within 1 cm of anatomical stature estimates using femoral, tibial, and calcaneal metrics. These formulae provide estimates that are closer to anatomical stature than those traditionally used in the Andes. ANOVA results were statistically significant for differences between Andean-derived and Mesoamerican-derived formulae.
Although regionally proximate (mid-altitude) formulae provide estimates approximating population-specific formulae, those created from geographically distant populations from sites at or near sea-level are inappropriate in high-altitude studies. Like some previous studies on stature, we found that the most accurate estimates were based on the tibia rather than the femur and that the calcaneus can be used reliably in stature estimation when no other element is present or measurable.