(Received 11 November 2000; accepted 3 March 2001)
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The central dogma of bite mark analysis is based upon two assumptions. The first is that human teeth are unique, and the second is that sufficient detail of the uniqueness is rendered during the biting process to enable identification. Both of these assumptions have been challenged over recent years, and a healthy scientific skepticism surrounding bite mark analysis has developed. The case presented features two suspects whose dental arrangement was similar and, when compared to the bite mark, both demonstrated consistent features. Within a closed population of possible biters, one of the two suspects was responsible for the injury. The case is illustrated with photographic and overlay detail of the suspect's teeth and demonstrates the complexity of such cases. The authors call for greater caution when drawing conclusions from such cases and highlight the need for further research into the replication of dental features on human skin.
Graduate student, Clinical Dental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Liverpool,
Forensic odontologist, Liverpool,
Stock #: JFS15177J