Assessment of injuries in marine mammals may be required to help authorities determine whether human activity was involved. Three cases of marine animal deaths involving propeller blade strikes are reported to demonstrate characteristic features of such cases and diagnostic difficulties that may occur. Case 1: A juvenile New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) suffered two parallel linear incised wounds of the flank and died following small intestinal herniation. Case 2: An Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin neonate (Tursiops aduncus) died from a deeply incised wound of the left side of the head with shattering of the skull and laceration of the underlying brain. Case 3: An adult female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (T. aduncus) died from two parallel chop wounds to the torso with opening of the thoracic and abdominal cavities with fractures of the ribs and vertebrae. Given that some animals may recover, and that the carcasses of those that are killed may simply not be found or reported, it is impossible to provide an estimate of the incidence of this type of injury amongst wild sea mammals. In cases that do come to forensic attention accurate evaluation of the type of injury may potentially have great medicolegal significance. Post-mortem putrefaction and post-mortem feeding by other sea animals may complicate assessments.
The Assessment of Lethal Propeller Strike Injuries in Sea Mammals
Title: The Assessment of Lethal Propeller Strike Injuries in Sea Mammals
April 01, 2012
Journal: Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Byard, R.; Winskog, C.; Machado, A.; Boardman, W. (2012). The Assessment of Lethal Propeller Strike Injuries in Sea Mammals. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 19(3), 158-161.