• Users Online: 531
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Ahead of print Current issue Search Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 114-117

Differentiating postmortem claw marks by the Asian water monitor (kabaragoya) from antemortem sharp weapon trauma based on the injury pattern

Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Correspondence Address:
Chiranthika Madhupoorni A. Gunathilaka
Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, No 25, Kynsey Road, Colombo 00800
Sri Lanka
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfsm.jfsm_18_21

Rights and Permissions

The Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator) or kabaragoya is the predominant large animal scavenger of human remains in Sri Lanka; however, its significance is rarely discussed in the forensic literature. This is the case of a 54-year-old male with a history of dementia, depression, and wandering behavior whose body was found, partially submerged in a river, 2 days after he was reported missing. There were several linear wounds with regular margins over his arms and face which raised the suspicion of homicidal sharp weapon trauma. The injuries were seen in clusters and did not involve harder structures such as tendons, ligaments, or bones. There were no signs of inflammation or bleeding. They were attributed to kabaragoya claw marks, which are postmortem artifacts that mimic incised wounds. However, there were no areas of tissue loss to indicate that the animal had begun feeding on the corpse. This case discusses the problems faced by medicolegal investigators when encountering this phenomenon which is relatively underreported in the forensic literature.

Print this article     Email this article
 Next article
 Previous article
 Table of Contents

 Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
 Citation Manager
 Access Statistics
 Reader Comments
 Email Alert *
 Add to My List *
 * Requires registration (Free)

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded99    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal