The Estimation of Stature from the Tarsals: Enhancing the Disaster Victim Identification Process in Thailand Using the Calcaneus and the Talus

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Shelby Scott
Tanya R. Peckmann
Michelle L. Patriquin
Claudia Garrido Varas
Susan Meek


The impact of climate change is estimated to be particularly severe in Thailand, where climate change events are predicted to increase in both frequency and severity, resulting in a higher number of deaths in the region. Therefore, there is an urgent need for population-specific methodologies for the identification of unknown human remains in Thailand. The current study focuses on the calcaneus and the talus to establish an accurate method of living stature estimation for a contemporary Thai sample.

Paired calcanei and tali of 233 skeletonized individuals, ranging from 19 to 96 years of age, were studied from the Chiang Mai skeletal collection. Nine measurements were collected from each calcaneus, and one measurement was collected from each talus. Sexes were pooled; all measurements of the calcaneus and the talus exhibit sexual dimorphism. Regression equations of the calcaneus and the talus, generated from other samples, were found to be inaccurate predictors of stature when applied to the contemporary Thai sample. Therefore, population-specific regression equations are recommended. The results of the current study will contribute to estimating living stature of unknown contemporary Thai individuals and will assist in cases such as natural disasters where more accurate predictors of living stature, such as long bones, are unavailable.

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