Introduction: Forensic anthropology is a branch of physical anthropology which interacts with other disciplines pertaining to the understanding of crime and its investigations. Many human features have been  used  to  estimate  stature  from  skeletal  remains  and  body  parts  owing  to  the  established relationship between stature and different parts of the body.

Aims: The study was carried out to establish standard anthropometric values for stature estimation by using hand length in the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria.

Study Design: Cross-sectional study.

Place and Duration of Study: University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria between January -April 2010.Methodology:A total of 407 right hand dominant students (210 males and 197 females) aged 18 –35 years who were purely of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba origin by both parents and grandparents, are included in this study. Each person has been studied for measurements of stature, hand length and handbreadth.

Results: No significant difference was observed in stature and hand dimensions between the Igbos and Hausas. However the Yorubas are significantly shorter and have shorter hands than the Igbos and the Hausas. The males are significantly taller than the females in all the three tribes and have longer hands than the females in the Hausas and Igbos. Both the sexes of Yorubas are significantly shorter  than  the  Hausas  and  have  significantly  shorter  hands  than  the  Hausas  and  Igbos  when comparison was made between same sexes. The Yoruba females have shorter but wider hands than the Hausa females. No significant difference was observed in stature and hand dimensions between the Hausas and Igbos when compared between same sexes. Regression equations for estimation of stature were formulated for each ethnic group and both sexes.

Conclusion: The study supports the fact that variations are present not only between races but also among  ethnic  groups,  thus  formulae  derived  for  one  ethnic  group  and  both  sexes  may  not  be applicable  to  other  ethnic  group  and  sex. This  study  therefore  provides  standard  anthropometric values and regression equations for the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria.

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