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