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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 692-693
Stature estimation in forensic examinations: A few technical considerations

1 Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Kasturba Medical College, (Affiliated to Manipal University), Mangalore, India

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Date of Web Publication19-Feb-2013

How to cite this article:
Krishan K, Kanchan T, Menezes RG. Stature estimation in forensic examinations: A few technical considerations. Indian J Dent Res 2012;23:692-3

How to cite this URL:
Krishan K, Kanchan T, Menezes RG. Stature estimation in forensic examinations: A few technical considerations. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2012 [cited 2023 Mar 23];23:692-3. Available from:

Stature is considered as an important parameter for personal identification in case of living as well as the dead, and hence forms an essential element of forensic examinations. In unknown human remains, stature helps in narrowing down the investigating process and helps to focus the attention on the target individuals. We congratulate the authors for their work on stature estimation formulae from measurements of teeth and anthropometry of skull. [1] There are many studies available in the literature concerning the estimation of stature from anthropometry of skull and cephalofacial region, [2],[3],[4] however, the literature is quite scanty as far as the stature estimation from teeth is concerned. The authors are successful in devising regression formulae for estimation of stature from teeth.

It has been well reported in literature that the stature in adults declines significantly as the age advances. [5],[6],[7],[8] Height of the person increases progressively and it becomes maximum at the age between 21 and 25 years. After this, for every 25 years, stature is shortened by 2.5 cm. [9] Studies have confirmed this well-established fact relating to the substantial decrease in stature once the mature stature is attained. [10],[11],[12] The stature loss may be associated with the thinning of intervertebral discs and loss of vertebral body height, [8] stooping posture, decreased tone in muscles, and osteoporosis. [13] As the sample age in the study ranged from 20 to 40 years, the criterion for loss of stature with age should ideally be taken into consideration after the age of 25 years or else it is likely to affect the regression equations and ultimately lead to erroneous results in stature estimation. In our opinion, the effect of age could have been negated if the results were analyzed for different age groups among males and females separately.

The authors have clearly made a mention of small sample size and nonhomogenous sampling. Anthropometric studies with a small sample size are subject to major errors. The bigger the sample size, the smaller the error. The sample size in the study conducted by Kaila [1] is statistically insignificant. The sample size is statistically significant when it is large enough to accurately represent the population. [14]

The technical error of a measurement is an accuracy index and represents the measurement quality and control dimension. [4],[15],[16] The authors have not taken into consideration the precision, reliability, and reproducibility of the measurement while measuring stature of individuals. The authors have measured stature with a specified technique and taken all other precautions, such as standardizing the landmarks as well as instruments, but were unable to calculate technical error of the measurement. Although the stature was recorded by one of the investigators throughout the study, the authors did not mention about the intraobserver error in taking the measurement of stature. The extent to which the measurement error can influence the measurement estimation of stature should have been taken into consideration. Moreover, diurnal variations in stature have been documented and substantial diurnal variation in stature is known to affect height data in forensic examinations. [17] It is proposed to measure height of an individual at one defined time in a day in humans, [18],[19],[20] to avoid variations in stature estimation.

The present correspondence is intended to emphasize on the above-mentioned essential issues in research related to stature estimation from odontometry and anthropometry.

   References Top

1.Kalia S, Shetty SK, Patil K, Mahima VG. Stature estimation using odontometry and skull anthropometry. Indian J Dent Res 2008;19:150-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
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2.Krishan K. Estimation of stature from cephalo-facial anthropometry in north Indian population. Forensic Sci Int. 2008; 181:52.e1-6.   Back to cited text no. 2
3.Patil KR, Mody RN. Determination of sex by discriminant function analysis and stature by regression analysis: a lateral cephalometric study. Forensic Sci Int 2005;147:175-80.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Krishan K, Kumar R. Determination of stature from cephalo-facial dimensions in a North Indian population. Leg Med (Tokyo) 2007;9:128-33.   Back to cited text no. 4
5.Trotter M., Gleser, G. The effect of ageing on stature. Am J Phys Anthropol1951; 9:311-24.   Back to cited text no. 5
6.Rogers SL. The Ageing Skeleton. Springfield, 111: Charles C. Thomas;1982.   Back to cited text no. 6
7.Rossman I. Clinical Geriatrics, 3 rd ed, Philadelphia PA Lippincott;1986.   Back to cited text no. 7
8.Coles RJ, Clements DG, Evans WD. Measurement of Height: Practical Considerations for the Study of Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis Int 1994;4:353-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Vij K. Text Book of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology-Principles and Practice, 4 th ed, New Delhi, Reed Elsevier India Private Limited-A Division of Elsevier; 2008.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.van Leer E.M., van Noord PA, Seidell JC. Components of adult height and height loss. Secular trend and effects of ageing in women in the DOM project. Ann Epidemiol1992;2;611-5.   Back to cited text no. 10
11.Bartali B, Benvenuti E, Corsi AM, Bandinelli S, Russo CR, Di Iorio A, et al. Changes in anthropometric measures in men and women across the life span findings from the InCHIANTI study. Soz Praventivmed 2002;47:336-48.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Dangour AD. Cross-sectional changes in anthropometric variables among Wapishana and Patamona Amerindian adults. Hum Biol 2003; 75:227-40.   Back to cited text no. 12
13.Pini R, Tonon E, Cavallini MC, Bencini F, Di Bari M, Masotti G, et al. Accuracy of equations for predicting stature from knee height, and assessment of statural loss in an older Italian population. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2001;56:B3-7.   Back to cited text no. 13
14.Cottrell RR. Health Promotion And Education Research Methods: Using The Five Chapter Thesis/dissertation Model, Jones and Bartlett Publishers; Boston USA, 2005.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Ulijaszek SJ, Kerr DA. Anthropometric measurement error and the assessment of nutritional status. Br J Nutr 1999;82:165-77.   Back to cited text no. 15
16.Perini TA, de Oliveira GL, Ornella JS, de Oliveira FP. Technical error of measurement in anthropometry. Rev Bras Med 2005;11:86-90.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Krishan K, Vij K. Diurnal variation of stature in three adults and one child. Anthropologist 2007;9:113-117  Back to cited text no. 17
18.Voss LD, Bailey BJ. Diurnal variation in stature: is stretching the answer? Arch Dis Child 1997;77:319-22  Back to cited text no. 18
19.Lampl M. Further observations on diurnal variation in standing height. Ann Hum Biol 1992;19:87-90.  Back to cited text no. 19
20.Krishan K, Sidhu MC, Kanchan T, Menezes RG, Sen J. Diurnal variation in stature-Is it more in children or adults. Biosci Hypotheses 2009;2:174-5.  Back to cited text no. 20

Correspondence Address:
Kewal Krishan
Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9290.107414

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