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Osteometric Boards

There is often a controversy about how to measure tibial length, whether to use both condyles or just the lateral condyle.  I include a hole on my boards to use both, but in my opinion this is not needed as the measurement is taken from the lateral condyle only.  My argument follows:

The US method:

Let me begin on which standards I based the design.  The Field and Lab board 

end plates were developed after a design first introduced by the University 

of Tennessee and subsequently made by a local craftsman out of wood 

approximately 15 years ago or so.  The hole in my board and the first boards 

from Tennessee are of the approximate same size and allow for the passage of 

the medial and lateral intercondylar tubercles through the end plane.  The 

standard for tibial length that I used to design the board is:

"69.  Tibia: Length:  distance from the superior articular surface of the 

lateral condyle to the tip of the medial malleolus.  Instrument: osteometric 

board.  Comment: place the tibia on the board, resting on its posterior 

surface with the longitudinal axis parallel to the instrument.  Place the 

lip of the medial malleolus on the vertical end board and press the movable 

upright against the proximal articular surface of the lateral condyle 

(figure 55).";  Standards for data collection from human skeletal remains, 

Proceedings of a Seminar at The Field Museum of Natural History Organized by 

Janathan Haas, Jane E. Buikstra and Douglas H. Ubelaker Editors.  Arkansas 

Archeological Survey Research Series No. 44, 1994.

From this I interpret that one could measure tibial length without a hole to  

accompany the intercondylar tubercles by using the edge of the movable plane 

to locate the proximal articular surface of the lateral condyle.  As I 

mentioned before, the addition of the hole was made at the suggestion of my 

first customers of this particular instrument so that one could maneuver the 

tibia into position with less complications.

Argument against the method presented in Brothwell '81:

...while Brothwell (1981) does indeed state that measurement is taken 

"...from both proximal condyles to the tip of the medial malleolus", 

(Brothwell, 1981: 86), He sites his source for the stature formulae from 

Trotter and Gleser, 1952 and 1958.  Trotter and Gleser state that 

measurement of the tibia is taken by placing the "...End of the malleolus 

against vertical wall of the osteometric board, bone resting on its dorsal 

surface with its long axis parallel with the long axis of the board, block 

applied to the most prominent part of the lateral half of lateral condyle." 

(Trotter and Gleser, 1952: 473).

It seems that Brothwell mistakenly directs that measurement be taken from 

both condyles when the formulae were developed and rely on measurement taken 

from only the lateral condyle.  Perhaps Brothwell mistakenly took a standard 

from earlier in the 1952 article that refers to work done by Rollet in 1888 

stating that "...both greatest and bicondylar lengths of the femur; and the 

distance from the two condyles of the head (with the intercondyloid eminence 

in the opening of the board) to the extremity of the medial malleolus of the 

tibia were taken." (Trotter and Gleser, 1952: 464).  However, the work by 

Rollet was not incorporated into the formulae and only given as example.  

Any measurements taken of the tibia as directed by Brothwell cannot be 

applied to the formulae developed by Trotter and Gleser.  Inspection of the 

Trotter and Gleser (1958) finds no change in methods of measurements only 

adjustment of formulae.

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Paleo-Tech Student Field Osteometric Board
Price: $30.00 Shipment in 2-3 Weeks
Paleo-Tech Student Field Osteometric Board
Student Field Osteometric Board
Paleo-Tech Lightweight Field Osteometric Board
Price: $625.00 6-8 Weeks for Shipment
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Lightweight version of the popular portable osteo board
Paleo-Tech Laboratory Osteometric Board
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Paleo-Tech Laboratory Osteometric Board
Full length table-top osteometric board
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