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Da Vinci's Other Code

Assumption: Because most bones grow at the same rate, the length of a person's bones and the person's height are linearly related.

Based on this assumption, archeologists supposedly can predict the height of a person from the length of a bone found in a dig. For example, one set of measurements used are:

  • Male: H = 80.405 + 3.650R
  • Female: H = 73.502 + 3.876R
where H and R are the person's height and length of radius (arm bone between wrist and elbow) in centimeters.

Task: Set up an experiment to test the validity of the these equations? Include important variables such as age, sex, and culture.

As follow-up, you might want to explore these additional ideas:

  • Others claim that there is a connection but use the femur (thighbone)...in your experiments, do you reach the same height for both approaches?
  • And others claim that there is a connection between arm span, knee height, age, and height
  • Some claim that there is a connection between bone length and life longevity
  • A readable study that investigates the possible connection between mutliple bone lengths and height, showing a good use of regression techniques
  • Investigate if similar formulas exist for pedicting the heights of animals as well?
  • What does all of this have to do with Leonardo Da Vinci's famous drawing The Proportions of the Human Figure (1492)?