Stature and body mass estimation from skeletal remains in the European Holocene

Am J Phys Anthropol. 2012 Aug;148(4):601-17. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22087. Epub 2012 May 28.


Techniques that are currently available for estimating stature and body mass from European skeletal remains are all subject to various limitations. Here, we develop new prediction equations based on large skeletal samples representing much of the continent and temporal periods ranging from the Mesolithic to the 20th century. Anatomical reconstruction of stature is carried out for 501 individuals, and body mass is calculated from estimated stature and biiliac breadth in 1,145 individuals. These data are used to derive stature estimation formulae based on long bone lengths and body mass estimation formulae based on femoral head breadth. Prediction accuracy is superior to that of previously available methods. No systematic geographic or temporal variation in prediction errors is apparent, except in tibial estimation of stature, where northern and southern European formulae are necessary because of the presence of relatively longer tibiae in southern samples. Thus, these equations should bebroadly applicable to European Holocene skeletal samples.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropology, Physical
  • Body Height / physiology*
  • Body Size
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Femur / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Tibia / anatomy & histology*