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Georgia Journal of Science

Abstract

Antemortem bone remodeling following severe trauma leads to bone disfigurement that serves as a skeletal record of the injury resulting from events such as nonfatal predator attacks, aggressive intraspecific interactions, or accidental injuries related to lifestyle hazards. In the current study, pathologic bone regrowth was analyzed in a sample of 91 eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) skeletons from Putnam County, Georgia. The occurrence, frequency, and position of bridging fracture calluses, bone misalignments, bone-surface perforations, and localized superficial calluses were recorded and compared to other terrestrial, semiarboreal, and arboreal mammalian species. Evidence of healed bone fractures was observed in 41% of individuals, with 26% of the skeletons displaying multiple healed fractures. Healed long bone fractures were noted in 19% of the skeletons. Pathologic ribs, caudal vertebrae, and metatarsals were most commonly observed and likely resulted from falls or nonfatal predator attacks.

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