Comparative Responses of Small and Medium Sized Primates, Both Live and Embalmed, to Impact Stress 670916

Embalmed cadavers have been used extensively to study impact dynamics, but the results seem inconclusive to us. To collect statistically valid data eventually allowing extrapolation to human beings, squirrel and rhesus monkeys (both alive and anesthetized and dead and embalmed) were impacted using a linear accelerator. The embalming procedures were standardized and the impacts were targeted, precisely controlled, and proportional. Necropsy showed that in both small- and medium-sized primates, embalmed bone is more susceptible to damage than live bone. The converse is true for the soft tissues impacted. The intraspecies differences are statistically significant, and further, the interspecies comparisons show positive correlation in most cases. Our results suggest that embalmed tissue response is not representative of live tissue response. This conclusion is at variance with others' findings. Embalming procedures and experimental design account for some of the discrepancies. Additional work is needed to “calibrate” cadavers to allow their confident use in biodynamics.


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