Anthropological profile in forensic context includes the assessment of parameters as ancestry, sex, age and stature of an individual by the analysis of skeletal remains. Stature can be estimated from decomposed and fully or partially skeletonized remains by means of anatomical or mathematical methods applied on the whole skeleton or single bones. Many authors calculated regression formulae for the living stature estimation by these methods, in particular based on a population similar to the remains recovered. Long bones are commonly used for stature estimation, but, when they are missing, methods involving different parts of the skeleton are needed. In this preliminary study we measured heights of the vertebral bodies in a female Caucasian Italian population, evaluated by images of morphometric X-ray absorptiometry based on dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in living subjects investigated for routine diagnostic purposes. Thoracic and lumbar segments of the spine were measured and statistical analysis was performed, thus obtaining regression formulae for estimated living stature from thoraco-lumbar spine segments (T6-T12, L1-L4 and T6-L4). We propose this method for stature evaluation in physical or forensic anthropology when the spine is available and long bones are missing.
Forensic anthropology; Vertebral column; Stature estimation; DEXA morphometry