University of Buffalo Team Impresses ABFO Bitemark Experts with Science

The joint meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting occurred last week in Chicago. The board-certifying group (ABFO) for bitemark analysis invited the forensic dental research team from the University of Buffalo to present their scientific findings to the diplomats of the American Board of Forensic Odontology. This was a much-anticipated show down in the world of bitemark analysis. The battle lines were drawn between the scientists who have published scientific findings in the literature and a group of the old guard bitemark experts that have been operating on self induced hunches resulting in a number of wrongful convictions of innocent persons that have served years in prison before being exonerated.

The reason for the diplomates disdain of the invitation to the Buffalo group is because the University research team has published articles in peer-reviewed journals that scientifically debunk many of the myths that had been proselytized by some ABFO experts over the years. The published scientific papers have come to the attention of prosecuting attorneys and others in criminal enforcement and have thus diminished the bitemark expert’s credibility in and out of court.

Fortunately for the future of bitemark analysis the presentation was well received by the Diplomats. It is the sharing of science that makes a profession evolve into a stronger discipline. In the past the bitemark experts had based their opinions on flawed research, which resulted in bad outcomes that have taken years to correct. The bitemark experts have made a needed step towards respect by the other forensic sciences. Congratulations to the diplomats for extending the invitation to the University of Buffalo research team and to the president of the ABFO, Dr Frank Wright.

Sample papers from the University of Buffalo

Statistical Evidence for the Similarity of the Human Dentition

The Response of Skin to Applied Stress- Investigation of Bitemark Distortion in a Cadaver Model*

Bitemark Experts Convene for National Meeting

American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Meeting

Bitemark experts from North America will gather this week in Chicago for their annual scientific meeting. The highlight of the week will be the presentation on Thursday by a research team from the University of Buffalo. The research team has published a number of scientific articles that oppose what many of the bitemark experts have testified in their past cases concerning bitemarks.

There will be a palpable trepidation among many of the bitemark experts as the guest scientists from the University of Buffalo deliver their talk. The presentation will likely be about the lack of scientific studies on skin distortion and the unresolved issue of dental uniqueness. The Buffalo team consists of Peter Bush, Mary Bush, David Sheets and Ray Miller who have published numerous articles in the scientific forensic journals. I will post more on their presentation later.