Volume 47, Issue 6 (November 2002)
Interobserver Variation of Selected Postcranial Skeletal Measurements
Osteometric data are of great importance for analytical purposes in the field of forensic anthropology, and it is critical that interobserver concordance is high in order for the results of these analyses to be reliable. Significant interobserver variation of skeletal measurements is cause for concern since it may result in conflicting conclusions. The range of interobserver variation of selected postcranial measurements is addressed. Thirteen standard measurements familiar to most forensic anthropologists were examined, as well as nine nonstandard measurements that were unfamiliar to most participants in the study. Sixty-eight individuals participated in the study, the majority of whom considered themselves to be forensic anthropologists with various levels of experience. In general, interobserver variation of the tested standard postcranial measurements was found to be minimal, with the exception of pubis length and subtrochanteric femur measurements. The difficulties that can lead to measurement error are discussed and possible solutions are recommended.