Revision of the fully technique for estimating statures

Michelle H. Raxter, Benjamin M. Auerbach, Christopher B. Ruff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


The "anatomical" method of Fully ([1956] Ann. Legale Med. 35:266-273) for reconstructing stature, involving the addition of skeletal elements from the calcaneus to the skull, has been increasingly used in anthropological and forensic contexts, but has undergone little systematic testing on samples other than the original sample used to develop the technique. The original description by Fully of the method also does not provide completely explicit directions for taking all of the necessary measurements. This study tested the accuracy and applicability of his method, and clarified measurement procedures. The study sample consisted of 119 adult black and white males and females of known cadaveric statures from the Terry Collection. Cadaveric statures were adjusted to living statures, following the recommendations of Trotter and Gleser ([1952] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 10:469-514). We obtained the best results using maximum vertebral body heights (anterior to the pedicles) and measurement of the articulated talus and calcaneus height in anatomical position. Statures derived using the original Fully technique are strongly correlated with living statures in our sample (r = 0.96), but underestimate living stature by an average of about 2.4 cm. Anatomical considerations also suggest that the correction factors applied by Fully to convert summed skeletal height to living stature are too small. New formulae are derived to calculate living stature from skeletal height. There is no effect of sex or ancestry on stature prediction. Resulting stature estimates are accurate to within 4.5 cm in 95% of the individuals in our sample, with no directional bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-384
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Anatomical method
  • Living stature
  • Skeletal height
  • Stature estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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