(Received 25 July 1991; accepted 22 January 1991)
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Observation of hyoid fracture in skeletonized remains offers potentially valuable information on the history of the skeleton or evidence of foul play, or both. Perimortem hyoid fracture frequently indicates manual strangulation, although ligature strangulation, hanging, and other forms of trauma to the neck cannot be ruled out without additional evidence. Such fractures are rare in children and infants, since the hyoid components are not fully ossified and are more flexible than in adults. Both antemortem and postmortem origins of the fractures must also be considered.
Curator, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Stock #: JFS13308J