Since in instances of traumatic death of a juvenile, it can be particularly incumbent upon the researcher to identify and interpret trauma, the current study examined skeletal injury patterns in a large, contemporary sample with known cause and manner of death to better inform bioarchaeologists and forensic anthropologists.
A database of computed tomography images of subadults was established by a National Institute of Justice grant (2015-DN-BX-K409), and a subset of the database was used in the current research (n = 191). The subset included individuals between birth to 20 years, males and females, and a known cause of death (COD) and manner of death (MOD). Frequency distributions of fractures for each MOD and COD were created and compared to adult skeletal fractures with the same associated information. The most frequently injured anatomical area, overall and for all MODs, was the cranium, with a frequency of 68 percent, followed by the ribs and arms (both at 24 percent). The cranium was also the most frequently injured anatomical site for both ballistic and blunt trauma, and the ribs were the most frequently injured anatomical site for sharp-force trauma; however, there were fewer instances of sharp trauma compared to any other trauma category. The subadult injury pattern is not entirely discordant from the adult sample; however, the arms are fractured more often in the juvenile sample than in adults. The results suggest future research should be dedicated toward cranial trauma and upper limb traumatic injury. (publisher abstract modified)
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