Department of Criminology and Forensic Science, School of Social Work, India
Submission: July 25, 2019; Published: September 5, 2019
*Corresponding author:Nirupama B, School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya, Mangaluru, Affiliated to Mangalore University, Criminology and Forensic Science, Karnataka, India
How to cite this article: Nirupama B, Madhusha B M , Arjun M Shivakumar. Stature Estimation from the Length of Phalanges of Little Fingers in Mangaluru
Population. J Forensic Sci & Criminal Inves. 2019; 12(4): 555841. DOI: 10.19080/JFSCI.2018.11.555841.
The aim of the study was to determine whether there is any correlation between the height and the different length of phalanges of little fingers in Mangaluru population and to determine sex using the formula found for this correlation. This study was conducted by taking 50 males and 50 females of Mangaluru population who were living in Mangaluru for the past 2 generations as participants. The height and different length of phalanges of little fingers were measured using stadiometer and vernier calipers. Regression formula was derived, and a significant correlation was found between different length of phalanges of little finger and stature of an individual
Forensic anthropology is the application of the anatomical science in a legal setting. In cases like plane crash, natural calamities anthropology helps to identify the bodies found by studying them. Anthropology determines the age, sex, ethnicity, height etc of an individual by using the structure of the body or by studying the skeleton found. Forensic anthropologists study and analyze the human remains in crime investigations. It is also known as study of humans. There are three sections in Forensic anthropology. They are Forensic Osteology, Forensic Archeology, and Forensic Taphonomy. Forensic Osteology is the study of the skeleton. Forensic Archeology involves the controlled collection of human remains. Forensic Taphonomy implicates the study of decomposition and environmental effects on changes to the body after death. Physical anthropology is sub discipline of anthropology which is the study of physical characteristics and the non-biological characteristics of human beings .
The examination of human skeletal remains may help in identifying the human remains and estimated time since death. One of the important factors in identifying an individual living or dead is stature estimation. When the whole body is present it is easy to identify the individual by stature estimation, whereas presence of only the part of body makes it difficult for forensic anthropologists. Forensic anthropologists apply standard
scientific techniques developed in physical anthropology to identify human remains and to assist in the detection of crime. Forensic anthropologists work with law enforcement agencies and assist in processing skeletal evidence [2-5].
Stature is one of the most important parameters in the identification of an individual, living or dead. When intact bodies are to be examined, stature estimation does not pose any problem. But when dismembered human body parts are the materials to work with, it is of an even greater challenge for the forensic anthropologists. When dealing with human remain, estimating living stature can also help to identify an unknown individual because there is a close relationship between the body parts dimensions and height. The phalanges are digital bones in the hands and feet of most vertebrates. In primates, the thumbs and big toes have two phalanges while the other digits have three phalanges. They are, Distal, Intermediate, Proximal phalanges. The distal phalanges are the fingertips. Each intermediate phalanx connects to a proximal and distal phalanx. This middle phalanx has two joints and allows the finger to bend in two places. Proximal phalanges are the last phalanges which are attached to the palm .
Estimation of stature in living persons will help criminal justice system to solve cases. The present study was conducted to obtain stature estimation from length of phalanges of little
fingers in Mangaluru population.
I. To derive a formula for the estimation of stature from the
length of phalanges of right and left little fingers.
II. To assess sex determination based on derivation of stature
estimation from the length of phalanges of right and left little
For the purpose of the study 50 male and 50 female
participants were selected who has settled in Mangaluru from
the past two generations. The study was conducted to estimate
the stature from the length of phalanges of right and left little
fingers. Age above 21 years was chosen for the reason that by this
age nearly all secondary centers fuse with the respective shafts.
Participants who are healthy individuals were taken for the
study and exclusion criteria was the subjects having significant
diseases, congenitally malformed limbs, metabolic disorders
and developmental defects; deformities to reduce error in result.
Cross sectional study design was employed for this study.
Stadiometer and Vernier Calipers were the main tools
used for the study. Also, the participant information sheet with
personal details like place, age, sex, name, height and phalanges
of little finger measurements was used for data collection
by the researcher for the purpose of collecting data from the
participants along with consent forms [11-13].
The vertical distance from the vertex to the foot was
measured in centimeters. The participants were instructed to
stand straight - bare footed on a horizontal resting plane of the
stadiometer. They also initiated to turn both the palms of hand
inward and fingers horizontally pointing downwards, and head
oriented in Frankfurt Plane. The mobile phase of stadiometer
was brought in contact with vertex in the mid sagittal plane.
Measurement of Right and Left Little Finger Length using Vernier
Caliper: To measure the length of phalanges of little finger, the
participants were asked to place the hands on a flat table, palms
of hand were turned outwards and fingers horizontally pointing
downwards Figure 1.
The distance between the proximal phalangeal crease and
the metacarpophalangeal crease was recorded using a Vernier
caliper. Same procedure is followed for both the hands. Statistical
techniques used for the research are:
1. Correlation (Pearson’s Correlation)
2. Linear Regression (Stature Height using Length of
phalanges of Right and Left Little Finger)
3. Discriminant Analysis for Sex Determination
Here we observe that there is no significant difference
between right and left phalanges - distal, intermediate and
proximal with t (99) = -0.551, p=0.583, t (99) =-2.757, p=0.051
and t (99) = 0.292, p = 0.771 respectively.
Here we observe that there is significant positive correlation
between the height and length of phalanges with p<0.001. The
R value represents the multiple correlation coefficients. R can
be considered to be one measure of the quality of the prediction
of the dependent variable; here R=0.860 indicates a good level
of prediction Table 1. The R2 value (also called the coefficient
of determination), which is the proportion of variance in the
dependent variable that can be explained by the independent
You can see from our value of 0.739 that our independent
variables explain 73.9% of the variability of our dependent
variable, height. The F-ratio in the ANOVA table tests whether
the overall regression model is a good fit for the data. The Table
2 shows that the independent variables statistically significantly
predict the dependent variable, F (4, 95) = 67.402, p <<0.001. i.e.,
the regression model is a good fit of the data. Estimated model
coefficients for predicting height using length of phalanges and
gender: Predicted Height = 126.755 +9.945*(length of distal) +
13.188 * (length of intermediate) - 0.931 * (length of proximal) -
10.386 * (Gender) Figure 2.
Here we observe that, independent variables like length of
distal, length of intermediate and gender are significant (p<0.05)
which indicates these independent variables added significantly
to the prediction of height. Estimated model coefficients
for predicting height using length of phalanges and gender:
Predicted Height = 126.755 +9.945*(length of distal) + 13.188 *
(length of intermediate) - 0.931 * (length of proximal) - 10.386
* (Gender) Here we observe that, independent variables like
length of distal, length of intermediate and gender are significant
(p<0.05) which indicates these independent variables added
significantly to the prediction of height. This multivariate test is
a goodness of fit statistic, since p <0.001, we can say that the
model is a good fit for the data .
The standardized discriminant function coefficients in the
Table 3 indicate the relative importance of the independent
variables in predicting the dependent. They allow you to
compare variables measured on different scales. Coefficients
with large absolute values correspond to variables with greater
discriminating ability. Pooled within-groups correlations
between discriminating variables and standardized canonical
discriminant functions. Variables ordered by absolute size of
correlation within function.
a. Dependent Variable: Height (cms)
b. Predictors: (Constant), Right Proximal (cms)G
c. Right Intermediate (cms), Right Distal (cms)
Structure matrix represents the correlations between
the observed variables and the dimensions created with the
unobserved discriminant functions. Canonical Discriminant
Function Coefficients are used to construct the actual prediction
equation which can be used to classify new cases. Discriminant
Function is DF= -28.956 + 0.156 * (height) + 2.028 * (length
of distal) - 1.453 * (length of intermediate) + 0.739 * (length
of proximal) Centroids are the mean discriminant scores for
each group. This Table 4 is used to establish the cutting point
for classifying cases. If the two groups are of equal size, the best
cutting point is halfway between the values of the functions at
a. Dependent Variable: Height (cms)
b. Predictors: (Constant), Right Proximal (cms), G
c. Right Intermediate (cms), Right Distal (cms)
Cut Score = (1.1372+ (-1.1372)) / 2 = 0.
If an individual person’s score on the DF (calculated by
plugging in their scores to the DF equation we wrote out above)
is above 0, then they were probably the females. If their DF score
is below 0, then they were probably the males. This Table 5 is
used to assess how well the discriminant function works, and if
it works equally well for each group of the dependent variable.
Here it correctly classifies more than 94% of the cases in males
and 90% in females. Overall, 92% of the cases are correctly
classified. After cross validation (using leave one out method)
overall accuracy is 90% Table 6.
In the study ‘Estimation of Stature from Finger Length’
conducted by Pooja Ahuja et al in the year 2018, it was carried
out on a cross sectional sample of 200 adult students out of
which 100 were males and 100 were females of 18-25 age
groups. The data collected from 100 males and 100 females were
statistically analyzed using the SPSS software. The correlation
between the stature and the fingers length was done along with the regression equation. In the present study we have
undertaken 100 adult populations, out of which 50 were males
and 50 were females. A positive correlation for both males and
females was obtained for the estimation of the stature from the
different length of phalanges of little finger Table 7.
Another study conducted by Jaydip Sen et al on “Estimation
of stature from lengths of index and ring fingers in a Northeastern
Indian population” in the year 2013. Mean Stature,
index finger length and ring finger lengths were found to be
significantly longer in the males than the females. The present
study also observed more mean stature and different phalange
length in males than in females [16-17].
The study conducted by Renu Kamal & Praveen Kumar
Yadav is ‘Estimation of stature from different anthropometric
measurements in Kori population of North India’ in the year
2016. In totality, eight bone dimensions including stature,
total arm length, length of the middle finger, knee length, foot
length, foot breadth, maximum head length and maximum head
breadth have been recorded. In the present study, different
phalange length of both left and right little fingers were taken
for estimating the stature of an individual Table 8.
“Estimation of sex from index and ring finger in a North
Indian population” by Kewal Krishan et al. showed that significant
sex differences exist in the length of index and ring finger ratio
in an endogamous North Indian population. “Index and ring
finger ratio -A new sex determinant in south Indian population”
conducted by Tanuj Kanchan, Pradeep Kumar, Ritesh G. Menezes
in the year 2008, investigated sexual dimorphism of the index
and ring finger ratio. The index and ring finger ratio is found to
be higher in females. The present study also showed that there is
a significant sex difference exists in Mangaluru population Table
In the year 2015 a study ‘Estimation of Sex from Index and
Ring Finger Lengths in An Indigenous Population of Eastern
India’ was conducted by Jaydip Sen et al. The results indicate that
Index Finger Length (IFL) and Ring Finger Length (RFL) of both
hands were significantly longer in males as compared to females.
The ring finger was longer than the index finger in both sexes.
The study successfully highlights the existence of sex differences
in IFL and RFL (p<0.05). In the current study the different length
of phalanges of little finger in male was longer than in females,
which says there is a major difference in male and female little
fingers length Table 10.
Another study ‘Estimation of stature from index and ring
finger length in Davangere district’ by G.M. Raju et al in the
year 2014, A moderate correlation was observed between index and ring finger length of right hand and calculated height
of an individual which is statistically highly significant. In this
present study stature was estimated from the different length
of phalanges of little finger was found to be statistically highly
significant (p<0.001) Table 11.
“Estimation of co-relation between middle finger length &
stature of females in South Indian population” was conducted
by Shivakumar AH, Vijaynath V, Raju G M in the year 2011. The
study was an attempt to examine the relationship between the
statures of middle finger length of 100 females of Karnataka, in
south Indian population in age ranging from 17 to 19 years. In
the current study we have taken both males and females aged
above 21 years to get accurate result Table 12.
Unstandardized canonical discriminant functions evaluated at group means.
Significant correlation was found between the length of little
finger and stature of an individual. A formula for estimating the
approximate stature of a person through length of phalanges of
little fingers and sex was derived which is as follows Predicted
Height = 126.755 + 9.945 * (length of distal) + 13.188 * (length of
intermediate) - 0.931 * (length of proximal) - 10.386 * (Gender)
The Discriminant Function is: DF= -28.956 + 0.156 * (height)
+ 2.028 * (length of distal) - 1.453 * (length of intermediate)
+ 0.739 * (length of proximal) It correctly classifies more than
94% of the cases in males and 90% in females. Overall, 90% of
the cases are correctly classified Table 13.
a. 92% of original grouped cases correctly classified.
b. Cross validation is done only for those cases in the analysis. In cross validation, each case is classified by the functions derived from all
cases other than that case.
c. 90% of cross-validated grouped cases correctly classified
Various other parameters can be used for stature estimation
like the arm and forearm length, foot and palm length etc. The
study can be extended to people belonging to different races,
particular community like fisherman community specially
in coastal areas because of its Forensic importance, tribal
Shivakumar AH, Vijaynath V, Raju GM (2011) Estimation of co-relation between middle finger length & stature of females in South Indian population. Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology 5(1): 75-76.
Suseelamma D, Gayathri P, Deepthi S, Mohan CM, Kumar UM, Amarnath (2014) Study of Correlation between Stature and Length of Fingers. Scholars Journal of Applied Medical Sciences 2(2D): 773-784.
Verghese, Annie J, B MBalraj, GN Pramod Kumar (2010) A study of estimation of stature from length of fingers in Mysore, Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine Toxicology 4(2): 12-13.