Forensic utility of cranial measurements in stature reconstruction in South Africans of European descent

Mubarak A. Bidmos*, Abduljalil Adetola Adebesin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The height of an individual (stature) is one of the biological profiles that is estimated as part of human identification process from various components of the human skeleton. The anatomical method is often used for this purpose when a complete and intact skeleton is available for forensic analysis because it is accurate. Since complete skeletons are seldom present in most forensic cases, the mathematical method, which shows linear relationship between stature and bone mea-surements, becomes the method of choice. Population and sex-specific regression equations for stature estimation have been formulated using intact and fragmentary long bones amongst South African whites and blacks. Individual and combinations of measurements of other skeletal elements including bones of the feet have also been used in the formulation of regression equations. However, few studies have utilized measurements of the skull for stature reconstruction. Skeletal height, calculated from a suite of measurements, was regressed on six cranial measurements. Basibregmatic height and basion-nasion length presented with the highest correlation coefficient for an individual variable in males (0.50) and females (0.48), respectively. The range of correlation coefficient from multivariate analyses in males (0.58–0.63) is similar to that obtained in females (0.55–0.62). The standard error of estimates of the equations, a measure of the accuracy of the equa-tions, for male sample (6.74–7.09) was slightly higher than that for females (5.47–5.89). Regression equations presented in this study should be used with caution in forensic cases when only the skull is available for human identification. Significance of main findings: 1. Skull measurements show low to moderate correlation with stature. 2. Use of skull dimensions is advised only in the absence of intact long bones and other skeletal elements in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-233
Number of pages9
JournalAnthropologischer Anzeiger
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Forensic anthropology
  • Skeletal height
  • Skull measurements
  • South African whites
  • Stature reconstruction


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