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Bite Mark Lesions in Human Skin

NCJ Number
78686
Journal
Forensic Science International Volume: 18 Issue: 1 Dated: (July/August 1981) Pages: 41-55
Author(s)
J R Jakobsen; S Keiser-Nielsen
Date Published
1981
Annotation
Based on a case in which a man was attacked and bitten by a burglar (the bite marks resulting in skin lesions), this Danish article reconstructs the efforts of the dental examiners to identify the assailant through a series of simulated bites.
Abstract
The simulated bites were made with plaster models upon the naked back of a volunteer. This evidence clearly eliminated one of the suspects in the case and rendered a dubious judgment concerning the other suspect, although the evidence did not eliminate him as the aggressor. The first precaution to take when examining assumed tooth marks on skin is to wash them with sterile water on a cotton swab. The marks should be examined as soon as possible by a forensic dental expert. Test bites should be produced for comparison if conditions are favorable (i.e., if an acceptable photograph of the criminal mark exists and crust-covered lesions are apparent). However, some experts argue against using test bites for comparison because there are uncertainties as to how the physical properties of human skin influence the reproduction of a bite. Although stretching of the skin surface between the teeth may prejudice the evidence, distances between given points in the bite mark must be the same as or larger than the corresponding distances in the jaw involved, as was supported in this analysis. Photographs and 17 references are furnished.

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