Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Randall Skelton

Commitee Members

Meradeth Snow, Matthew Tornow


Organs, Organ Weights, Variation, Human Variation, Autopsy


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Biological and Physical Anthropology


This study is an attempt to analyze the different variables that affect organ weights, and to show that there must be specific reference tables for each population. The brain, heart, liver and right and left lungs were all examined for the whole sample and for a normal sub-sample. The normal sample consisted of individuals who did not have evidence of any type of disease or infection that would possibly cause organ damage, it consisted mostly of individuals who had died sudden traumatic deaths and who were Normal-weight or Overweight, Underweight and Obese individuals were excluded. The normal sample was compared to organ weights from other geographic regions and time periods showing that there is variation between the reference samples and that an updated and regionally appropriate table needs to be used for accuracy. The whole population was broken down to determine if there is significant variation between different variables including, sex, BMI, ancestry, age, and cause of death type. The results showed significant variation between the variables for the whole sample with the exceptions of age category and age, which indicates that while many variables affect organ weight the age of an individual does not.

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