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Lab 4
Anthropometry
 Objectives 
•
Use statistical methods to predict the height of an individual using only the skull, arm
bones, or femur.
 Additional Items You Should Bring 
Calculator
Introduction
Biological Anthropology is the study of human variation and our evolutionary origins.
One way to study Biological Anthropology is using
anthropometry
.
This term refers to
a series of techniques to obtain exact, quantitative measurements of skeletal remains.
For example, it includes determining the length of a skeletal bone or the volume of a
skull. These measurements help in determining sex, age, ethnic affiliation, stature, and
nutritional status, which provides a biological profile of the individual.
Such techniques
are therefore applicable to the fields of forensic anthropology and paleontology.
In this lab, we will learn the methods and statistics biological anthropologists use to
assess stature in forensic contexts.
In order to assess stature, we must first quantify
the typical range of variation observed in modern humans, which allows us to derive
formulae to predict a range of height for an individual. Formulae are based on the
strength of the correlation between two measurements of a skeleton, such as the length
of the femur and the total height. The strength of these formulae depends upon how
representative the individuals are of the population from which they were drawn
[meaning, how much of the range of variation they exhibit].
In general, the more
individuals you base your formulae upon, the more accurate your stature estimation will
be.
Remember, these formulae will always be population specific.
For our purposes, we will be exploring the variation encompassed within the lab
population – namely, you and your classmates!
You will predict your own height based
on a formula derived from the lab population and test the accuracy of the prediction
against your real height.
In addition, you will assess the importance of using
populationspecific formulae to estimate stature.
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Part 1.
STATISTICS
1.
Introduction to Statistical Methods
For the purpose of introducing statistical methods we will begin with a simple example –
comparing the height of two groups of students. We may wish to ask the following
questions:
•
Is there a difference in the "average height" of the two groups?
•
How much does the height vary within each group?
The easiest way to answer the question is to collect data by measuring the heights of
each of the students. Suppose that there are 5 students in each group and the set of
measurements is given in Table 1.
Table 1: Heights for Two Groups of Students
Group A
Height (cm)
Group B
Height (cm)
Student 1
175
Student 1
191
Student 2
168
Student 2
145
Student 3
175
Student 3
168
Student 4
183
Student 4
204
Student 5
175
Student 5
168
Although we are most comfortable discussing height in terms of feet and inches,
science is dominated by the metric system  get used to it!
1.1 Inspecting the Data
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 Spring '11
 Disotell
 Science, Statistics, Paleontology, Standard Deviation, Height, Human height

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