Exploring the degrees of distortion in simulated human bite marks

Neha Dama, Andrew Forgie, Scheila Manica (Lead / Corresponding author), Gavin Revie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
164 Downloads (Pure)


The properties of the skin and the posture of the body during photographic recording are factors that cause distortion in the bite mark injury. This study aimed to explore the degree of distortion between a ‘touch mark’ (method 1) and a ‘bite mark’ (method 2) on the left upper arm at three different positions (arm relaxed; arm flexed in two different positions). A pair of dental casts with biting edges coated in ink was used to create a mark in 30 subjects (6 ♂, 24 ♀) aged 20-50 years old. Photographs were taken using a Nikon DX digital camera (D5000). The mesiodistal widths and angle of rotations of both upper right central incisor and lower right central incisor and the inter-canine distances were analysed and compared with the true measurements using Adobe Photoshop CC 2017. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS Statistics 22 applying a 2 (mark type) x 3 (position) repeated measures ANOVA. For all measures studied there was a statistically significant difference between mark types and positions. In the case of bite marks, a great degree of distortion was detected, and this increased further when changing the position of the arm. The findings demonstrated that skin properties and posture influence distortion. This could lead to inaccurate measurements and misleading pattern interpretation of bite mark injuries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1043-1049
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Early online date5 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Bite mark
  • Distortion
  • Posture
  • Skin
  • Touch mark

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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