Morphometric Analysis of Bite Mark Patterns Caused by Domestic Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) Using Dental Wax Registers

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V. A. Toledo-González; F. E. Ortega-Ojeda; G. M. Fonseca; C. García-Ruiz & P. Pérez-Lloret


Dog bites are a known public health problem involving physical, mental and emotional traumas. From a forensic point of view, it has been stated that their morphological characters, and the intercanine and interincisive measurements, could allow a taxonomic and specific identification of the implicated animal. The aim of this study was to differentiate and identify the biological profile of a potential aggressor dog by analysing eight morphometric bite patterns belonging to three different dog breeds. The data obtained were analyzed following three categories: a) breeds; b) sexes among breeds; and c) sex within breed. Significant differences were detected among the variables (p≤ 0.05), but only the maximum maxillary intercanines width (MaxCW) allowed a breed differentiation. The other variables allowed a differentiation between two breeds or one breed over the others. The principal components analysis (PCA) allowed visualizing the degree of dispersion and relationship among the scores. It showed three well-defined and separated breed groups, and different degrees of dispersion within and among breeds. The most important variable for such a differentiation was MaxCW. When considering sex among breeds for males, it showed a statistically significant difference, but only the diastema located between the third left mandibular, incisive and the left mandibular canine (C-I-ManL) allowed breed differentiation. For females, only MaxCW allowed a differentiation among breeds. The multivariate analysis permitted with a 95 % confidence interval, a breed and sex differentiation. Besides, the PCA models allowed classifying, identifying, separating and graphically showing the relationship among the variables. This made it possible to differentiate between breeds and sexes. Due to the large range of dog breeds around the world, this multivariate analysis could also help determining the dog’s weight and size, narrowing down towards an approximate number of offending dogs, focussing on a certain kind of dog breed, and pinpointing any suspect dog.

KEY WORDS: Dog bite marks; Forensic science; Forensic odontology; Forensic veterinary.

How to cite this article

TOLEDO-GONZÁLEZ, V. A.; ORTEGA-OJEDA, F. E.; FONSECA, G. M.; GARCÍA-RUIZ, C. & PÉREZ-LLORET, P. Morphometric analysis of bite mark patterns caused by domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) using dental wax registers. Int. J. Morphol., 37(3):885-893, 2019.