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Anthropology 2235A/B Lecture Notes - Blunt Trauma

Course Code
ANTH 2235A/B
Eldon Molto

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Lecture 38 Trauma Analysis & Types of Trauma
Trauma Analysis
o Trauma analysis concerns injuries inflicted to bone because of:
a) Blunt force
b) Sharp force
c) Projectiles
Blunt Force Trauma
o Low velocity impact over large area
o Includes trauma from vehicular accidents = falls and compaction of the
body such as what occurs with manual strangulation
o Massive trauma from train or air crashes result in less organized examples
of blunt trauma
o Blunt force trauma is perhaps the most difficult area of skeletal trauma to
Sharp Force Trauma
o Forces directed along very narrow surface
Essentially blunt force trauma delivered by a sharp object
o Discontinuities are produced by physical interruption of the skeletal tissue
by a weapon
o Often combines with blunt force trauma producing fractures
o Best researched area
Lethal knife wounds are second only to gunshot wounds as a cause
of homicidal deaths
Gunshot and Projectile Injuries
o Involve substantially higher velocities distributed over smaller areas
o During medico-legal investigations of homicides and suicides forensic
anthropologists frequently encounter gunshot wound injuries
o Identification of the signature pattern requires different kind of training
unless the anthropologists is working on historic war samples
Training in Trauma Analysis
o Need to differentiate traumas
Accidental, occupational, malintent, intentional, animal knowing
o Anthropologists need extra training in ballistics unless they have dealt with
recent war dead
o Valuable in mass killings
Identification Criteria
o Age
o Sex
o Antemortem information
o Clothing
o Personal effects
o Place of burial
o Mode/manner of death
o Exclusion
o Race
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