Bite Marks Could be Inaccurate in Forensics

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Inaccurate Bite Marks

Researchers from the Canisius College, New York have asserted that the bite mark analysis, often presented as the key evidence in criminal procedures and is widely accepted by the criminal courts, could lead to false convictions. Bite mark analysis compares the teeth of crime suspects to bite mark patterns on victims.

Forensic ondontologists (forensic dentists who work on criminal investigations and mass disasters) generally work under two guidelines when analysing bite marks; first, everyone’s bite mark is unique, much like the fingerprints and second, human skin records an individual’s dental impression. “But the notions that a person's dentition is unique or that the human skin can accurately record an individual's bite mark have never been validated scientifically,” said H David Sheets from Canisius College.

He and his colleagues, in order to establish this finding, examined more than 1,000 human dentitions and studied hundreds of bite marks in cadaver skin. Following this, the team used its database of bite marks to match the dental impressions. In some cases, where the dental alignment was similar, it was difficult to determine which set of teeth were responsible for the dental impressions. This proves that a single bite mark cannot be linked to a specific individual as it can actually belong to different individuals.

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