I am exploring stature (living height), calculated from arm and leg bones, from an archaeological sample. Unfortunately, there are very few complete bones that can be measured and entered into the stature reconstruction formulae (e.g.,
stature = 44.8 + .267 * LengthOfUpperArmBone).
To increase the sample size, I estimated total bone length from additional bone fragments (there are accepted standards for doing this) present in the sample, which I then entered into the stature formulae. My results are: mean male stature from actual bone lengths = 1694 mm vs. from estimated bone length = 1681 mm; mean female statue from actual bone lengths = 1573 mm vs. from estimated bone length = 1531 mm.
My question is: are there any guidelines for when estimates are too deviant from actual to be used (e.g. combined) with actual values. In my case, I feel fairly good that I can combine the male data since the means only differ by 13 mm (ca. 1/2 inch), which seems too small to worry about, but the female means deviate by 42 mm (ca. 1 & 3/4 inch), which seems too much. Any ideas what I should do? Is it reasonable to use the male estimated data, but not the female estimates?
Here are the statistics for the four groups: Male stature from actual bone length: mean=1694, std dev=79, n=8 Male stature from estimated bone length: mean=1681, std dev=109, n=18 Female stature from actual bone length: mean=1573, std dev=40, n=15 Female stature from estimated bone length: mean=1531, std dev=130, n=19