Current Practice and the Validity of Stature Estimation Within the United Kingdom and Ireland

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


"Analysis of the morphology, condition and standard measurements of skeletal remains are used to estimate the four components of the biological profile: age, ancestry, sex and stature. It has been suggested that stature estimation is the least valuable aspect of the biological profile (Parsons, 2017). Stature methods within the United Kingdom and Ireland were surveyed, via questionnaire, to understand current practice and stature’s perceived value as a discriminator in identifying unknown human remains. There were 16 responses which were grouped into forensic anthropologists (7) and archaeologists (9). The forensic anthropology group evidenced higher levels of certification (RAI and CIFA), while the archaeologists had more years of experience and a higher frequency of stature estimation each year. Respondents ranked stature as the least important part of the biological profile on 4 occasions and the second least important on 12 occasions. 75% of respondents stated that they used equations developed by Trotter and Gleser (1952; 1958; 1971), described as 'the accepted standard'. Only three respondents referred to guidelines. 56% of respondents had teaching commitments where the traditional methods were commonly taught. Qualified and experienced practitioners rated stature of low discriminatory value within the modern or archaeological populations. There was little acknowledgement of newer work or utilisation of guidelines. To strengthen the discipline of forensic anthropology in the United Kingdom, further research is required to establish the status and validity of stature estimation in forensic identification.

Parsons, H.R. (2017) The Accuracy of the Biological Profile in Casework: An Analysis of Forensic
Anthropology Reports in Three Medical Examiners’ Offices PhD Thesis. University of Tennessee.
Trotter, M., Gleser, G.C. (1952) Estimation of Stature from Long Bones of American Whites and
Negroes. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 10: 463-514.
Trotter, M., Gleser, G.C. (1958) A Re-evaluation of Estimation of Stature Based on Measurements of
Stature Taken During Life and of the Long Bones After Death. American Journal of Physical
Anthropology, 16: 79-124.
Trotter, M. (1971) ‘Estimation of Stature from Intact Long Limb Bones’ in Stewart, T (ed.) Personal
Identification in Mass Disasters, City of Washington: National Museum of Natural History, 71-84
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2023
EventBABAO annual conference 2023 - Cranfield Univeristy, Cranfield, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Sept 201816 Sept 2018 (Link to conference website )


ConferenceBABAO annual conference 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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