(Received 20 March 2000; accepted 16 June 2000)
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A twentieth-century trend for increased stature has received considerable attention in the forensic literature with regard to its effects on stature estimation, but a secular trend for earlier maturation has received little attention. Current evidence indicates that within populations with similar climatic adaptation, truncation or extension of the same trajectory of ontogenetic allometry accounts for the secular trend and the within-cohort stature variation, as well as the scaling of limb proportion to stature and intralimb proportions. Since secular increase is small compared to interindividual variation, the Trotter and Gleser formulae are still appropriate as long as the 95% confidence intervals are applied. A secular trend for increasing childhood and adolescent obesity is associated with a trend for accelerated skeletal maturation, but does not predict a consistent direction or a quantitative correction for traditional standards. Secular trends for increased stature and earlier maturation are overshadowed by increasing nonsecular intrapopulational variation.
University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
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