University of Oulu

Junno, J.-A., Oura, P., Niskanen, M., Väre, T., Ruotsalainen, M., Pietikäinen, R., Niinimäki, J., Nurminen, N., Karppinen, J., Auvinen, J., Eriksson, T., & Tuukkanen, J. (2020). Improving anatomical stature estimation method. The relationship between living stature and intervertebral disc thickness. HOMO, 71(1), 37–42.

Improving anatomical stature estimation method : the relationship between living stature and intervertebral disc thickness

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Author: Junno, Juho-Antti1,2; Oura, Petteri2; Niskanen, Markku1;
Organizations: 1Archaeology, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 1000, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland
2Research Unit of Biomedicine, Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Center for Life Course Epidemiology and Systems Medicine, Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Health and Work Ability, Oulu, Finland
5Division of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Schweizerbart, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-01-15


Anatomical stature estimation methods reconstruct stature for skeletal specimens by adding up the heights of skeletal elements contributing to stature. In addition, these estimations factor in a certain amount of soft tissue known as “soft tissue correction”. Our study focuses on the relationship between living stature and one of the major soft tissue contributors to stature: the intervertebral disc thickness/height. The purpose of this study was to clarify whether intervertebral disc thickness is greater in tall individuals and whether there is a linear correlation between stature and intervertebral disc height. To conduct this study, we utilized a subsample of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort of 1966 (n = 12,058) with known stature. We measured vertebral heights and intervertebral disc heights from low back MRI examination performed at the age of 46 years (n = 200). All subjects were considered healthy with no spinal injuries or pathologies. Our results clearly indicate that stature and intervertebral disc height have positive, statistically significant association. According to our results it is advisable to take into account the individual’s skeletal height when soft tissue corrections for anatomical stature estimations are performed. Further studies utilizing full body MRI are needed to produce more accurate soft tissue corrections.

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Series: HOMO
ISSN: 0018-442X
ISSN-E: 1618-1301
ISSN-L: 0018-442X
Volume: 71
Issue: 1
Pages: 37 - 42
DOI: 10.1127/homo/2020/1034
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Copyright information: © 2020 E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 70176 Stuttgart, Germany. The final authenticated version is available online at