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Femur/stature ratio and estimates in mid- and late-Pleistocene fossil hominids

, : Femur/stature ratio and estimates in mid- and late-Pleistocene fossil hominids. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 833: 359-372

In previous limited investigations of the human femur/stature ratio we (Feldesman and Lundy; Journal of Human Evolution 17:583-596, 1988; Feldesman et al.: American Journal of Physical Anthropology 79:219-220, 1989) have shown it to be remarkably stable across ethnic and gender boundaries. In this study we evaluate the femure/stature ratio in 51 different "populations" of contemporary humans (n = 13,149) sampled from all over the world. We find that the mean ratio of femur length to stature in these populations is 26.74%, with a very restricted range of variation. When we compare mean femur/stature ratios of males and females, there are no statistically significant differences. ANOVA performed on a naive grouping of samples into "whites," "blacks," and "Asians" indicates that there are significant racial differences (P < 0.01). When we subject these groups to Tukey's HSD procedure (a post-hoc test), we find that "blacks" are responsible for the significant ANOVA, being signficantly (P < 0.005) different from the other ethnic groups. "Whites" and "Asians"are not significantly different (P = 0.067) under the conditions of this analysis, although all these racial comparisons may be suspect given the small sample sizes. We tested the efficacy of the ratio in three situations: predicting stature of repatriated white Vietnam veterans; predicting stature in a random sample of South African blacks (of known stature), and predicting the stature of a single Akka pygmy. In the first and third cases, the femur/stature ratio does better than the traditionally recommended regression equation, while in the second case the predictions from the femure/stature ratio are less accurate than from the appropriate regression equation. These results encouraged us to apply this ratio to mid- and late-Pleistocene fossil hominids, where the choice of reference population for stature estimates continues to trouble workers.

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