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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2007 May;133(1):698-716.

Body size prediction from juvenile skeletal remains.

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Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

Erratum in

  • Am J Phys Anthropol. 2012 Apr;147(4):680.


There are currently no methods for predicting body mass from juvenile skeletal remains and only a very limited number for predicting stature. In this study, stature and body mass prediction equations are generated for each year from 1 to 17 years of age using a subset of the Denver Growth Study sample, followed longitudinally (n = 20 individuals, 340 observations). Radiographic measurements of femoral distal metaphyseal and head breadth are used to predict body mass and long bone lengths are used to predict stature. In addition, pelvic bi-iliac breadth and long bone lengths are used to predict body mass in older adolescents. Relative prediction errors are equal to or smaller than those associated with similar adult estimation formulae. Body proportions change continuously throughout growth, necessitating age-specific formulae. Adult formulae overestimate stature and body mass in younger juveniles, but work well in 17-year-olds from the sample, indicating that in terms of body proportions they are representative of the general population. To illustrate use of the techniques, they are applied to the juvenile Homo erectus (ergaster) KNM-WT 15000 skeleton. New body mass and stature estimates for this specimen are similar to previous estimates derived using other methods. Body mass estimates range from 50 to 53 kg, and stature was probably slightly under 157 cm, although a precise stature estimate is difficult to determine due to differences in linear body proportions between KNM-WT 15000 and the Denver reference sample.

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