A comparison of animal jaws and bite mark patterns

Denise C. Murmann, Paula C. Brumit, Bruce A. Schrader, David R. Senn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to compare the jaw shapes and bite mark patterns of wild and domestic animals to assist investigators in their analysis of animal bite marks. The analyses were made on 12 species in the Order Carnivora housed in the Mammalian Collection at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to metric analysis, one skull from each species was photographed as a representative sample with an ABFO No. 2 scale in place. Bite patterns of the maxillary and mandibular dentition were documented using foamed polystyrene exemplars, which were also photographed. A total of 486 specimens were examined to analyze the jaw and bite mark patterns. A modified technique for measuring intercanine distances was developed to more accurately reflect the characteristics seen in animal bite marks. In it, three separate areas were measured on the canines, rather than just the cusp tip. This was to maximize the amount of information acquired from each skull, specifically to accommodate variances in the depth of bite injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-860
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Animal bites
  • Bite marks
  • Forensic odontology
  • Forensic science
  • Intercanine width

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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