By Alison Galloway
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Extra resources for Broken Bones: Anthropological Analysis of Blunt Force Trauma
With attention being paid to these points, it is difficult to damage skeletal material during cleaning. Nylon bristle brushes, hemostats, tongue depressors and spatulas should be used in cleaning rather than metal instruments such as knives and scalpels, which can further damage bone (Maples 1986). If these are insufficient, documentation of where metal tools are used and witnesses and/or videotapes of the process are helpful. As in all cases, care in cleaning bones must include avoidance of extreme temperatures or rapid temperature changes for the bones.
Links between individual injuries should be discussed so that the minimum number of blows, shots or cuts can be calculated. It is within this context that the experience of the forensic anthropologist, the results of experimentation and discussion of limitations must be laid out. These interpretations must not address either cause or manner of death, which is the purview of the medical examiner! coroner. Instead, they must be limited to the skeletal material. Relationships between the overlying or underlying soft tissue should be kept to general terms, as noted above.
Blunt force trauma may result in unusual patterns of decomposition that are evident on the body at initial inspection. , eyes, nose, mouth and ears) or in the ano-genital region. Massive trauma may, however, provide an additional avenue of entrance. When blunt force results in extensive soft tissue damage, insect activity can be intense. The frequent involvement of the head in blunt force injuries also means that injuries to the face or cranial vault may be distorted by the mere association with this body segment with the natural portals to the soft tissue.