anthropometry an·thro·pom·e·try (ān'thrə-pŏm'ĭ-trē)
The branch of anthropology concerned with comparative measurements of the human body and its parts.
|anthropometry (ān'thrə-pŏm'ĭ-trē) Pronunciation Key
The study of human body measurement for use in anthropological classification and comparison. The use of such data as skull dimensions and body proportions in the attempt to classify human beings into racial, ethnic, and national groups has been largely discredited, but anthropometric techniques are still used in physical anthropology and paleoanthropology, especially to study evolutionary change in fossil hominid remains.
the systematic collection and correlation of measurements of the human body. Now one of the principal techniques of physical anthropology, the discipline originated in the 19th century, when early studies of human biological and cultural evolution stimulated an interest in the systematic description of populations both living and extinct. In the latter part of the 19th century, anthropometric data were applied, often subjectively, by social scientists attempting to support theories associating biological race with levels of cultural and intellectual development. The Italian psychiatrist and sociologist Cesare Lombroso, seeking physical evidence of the so-called criminal type, used the methods of anthropometry to examine and categorize prison inmates.
Learn more about anthropometry with a free trial on Britannica.com.