Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Forensic Anthropology Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Ashley McKeown

Commitee Members

Randall Skelton, David Dyer, John Byrd


asymmetry, deltoid tuberosity, forensic anthropology, humerus, osteometric sorting


University of Montana


The identification of individuals from commingled human remains can be a difficult task. Osteometric sorting is often utilized for these purposes since it sorts remains based on size. This research investigates whether asymmetry of the humerus is present, if it is due to an individual’s hand preference, and if this asymmetry can adversely affect the osteometric sorting method. The osteometric sorting formulae for pair-matching was used to classify individuals as asymmetric when elements were considered significantly different in size. Significant asymmetry was seen in multiple measurements and the asymmetry could be due to handedness. This relationship appeared more consistent with breadth measurements than length measurements. The epicondylar breadth of the humerus was the most asymmetric with 12.8% of individuals considered asymmetric. Asymmetry of the maximum length of the humerus occurred in only 7.3% of individuals. These results did not appear to correlate with the results seen on the radius since less than 50% of the radii with asymmetry present were also asymmetrical at the level of the humerus. This indicates that asymmetry in the arm and forearm is not related. The measurements most likely related to handedness are discussed.



© Copyright 2012 Carrie Brady LeGarde