Trauma-induced changes in diaphyseal cross-sectional geometry in two elites from Copan, Honduras

Kenneth C. Nystrom, Jane E. Buikstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This research utilized biplanar radiographs to estimate cross-sectional biomechanical properties for the skeletal remains of two elite individuals from the Early Classic period (ca. AD 400-600) of Copan, Honduras: K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' (Hunal Burial 95-2), founder of the Early Classic Dynasty at Copan, and the primary female interment (Burial 37-8) from the Motmot tomb. Both individuals survived severe blunt-force insults to the right forearm. Gross skeletal examination and evaluation of the radiographs for K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' suggest that these traumas resulted from, at least in part, disuse atrophy of the affected forearm skeletal elements. Gross and radiologic evaluation of the Motmot remains countered the possibility that she suffered from a metabolic bone disease, and confirmed the presence of a well-healed parry fracture of the right ulna. The degree of asymmetry in cross-sectional biomechanical properties reported here for K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' is likely the secondary result of the described blunt-force trauma. The results obtained for the principal Motmot interment are not as dramatic, but suggest subtle changes to humeral cross-sectional geometry subsequent to trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-800
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Biplanar radiographs
  • Copan
  • Paleoradiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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