The palatal rugae in an identification

Thomas C.J. ; Van Wyk C.W. (1988)


It is a well established fact that the ruga pattern is as unique to a human as his fingerprints. It has also been found that in cases of severe mutilation and burning where the fingers and other superficial features of the body, including the face, are lost the palatal tissues remain remarkably well preserved. Any dentures which may be present, if they are not expelled from the mouth by concomitant violence at the time of accident or assault also tend to remain unharmed and sheltered by tongue and cheeks. Such dentures could have a proper mark in which case the identity of the victim would not be in any doubt. As denture marking is still spasmodic however other marks such as imprints of palatal rugae can be of use if an ante-mortem record exists. This is the principle which is so important in the identification of dentate individuals whose dental records are extant and obtainable. This report describes the identification of a severely charred edentulous body which had with it a set of dentures which could be compared with another set found in the suspected victim's home.

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