Volume 42, Issue 3 (May 1997)
The Anthropometry of Contemporary Commercial Cremation
This study establishes baseline parameters and examines those variables thought to influence cremains weights. Data were collected during the cremation of 100 individuals. A series of measurements was taken to determine relative skeletal robusticity. The weight, stature, sex, and age of each cadaver was recorded prior to cremation. The average cremains weight for the fully developed adults (n = 91) was 2430 g and ranged from 876 g to 3784 g. Male and female means were separated by 1053 g, but there was considerable overlap in the distribution. All cremains weights above 2750 g were male and all cremains weights below 1887 g were female. Five amputees and one long bone donor produced cremains weights below the means for their respective groups, reflecting the relative contribution of the thick cortical bone of the limbs to total skeletal weight, and thus to total cremains weight. Cremains weight represented approximately 3.5% of total body weight in adults, 2.5% of total body weight in children, and approximately 1% of total body weight in fetuses. The most accurate predictor of cremains weight was cadaver stature (r = .8473; p < .01). Calculated skeletal weight was also highly correlated with cremains weight (r = .7986; p < .01). Cadaveric weight was least correlated with cremains weight (r = .5470; p < .01). Regression formulae were calculated for each of the variables.