New model for estimating the relationship between surface area and volume in the human body using skeletal remains

American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Boryana E Kasabova, Trenton W Holliday


A new model for estimating human body surface area and body volume/mass from standard skeletal metrics is presented. This model is then tested against both 1) "independently estimated" body surface areas and "independently estimated" body volume/mass (both derived from anthropometric data) and 2) the cylindrical model of Ruff. The model is found to be more accurate in estimating both body surface area and body volume/mass than the cylindrical model, but it is more accurate in estimating body surface area than it is for estimating body volume/mass (as reflected by the standard error of the estimate when "independently estimated" surface area or volume/mass is regressed on estimates derived from the present model). Two practical applications of the model are tested. In the first test, the relative contribution of the limbs versus the trunk to the body's volume and surface area is compared between "heat-adapted" and "cold-adapted" populations. As expected, the "cold-adapted" group has significantly more of its body surface area and volume in its trunk than does the "heat-adapted" group. In the second test, we evaluate the effect of variation in bi-iliac breadth, elongated or foreshortened limbs, and differences in crural index on ...Continue Reading


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