Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Palatal rugae as a tool for human identification

AO Adisa, B Kolude, TJ Ogunrinde


Objective: This study was conducted to assess the accuracy of palatal rugae as a tool for human identification and to determine factors that may limit accuracy. This will serve as a potential basis for advising national health policy formulation on human identification as forensic rugoscopy is unexplored in sub.Saharan Africa.

Materials and Methods: One hundred consenting participants were  recruited; impressions of the upper jaws were taken and cast with dental stone. All the teeth on the models were trimmed off to prevent  identification by tooth morphology and the models were coded. Five uncalibrated dentists independently pair.matched the models based on the pattern of the palatal rugae.

Results: The overall accuracy for all 50 paired models ranged from 72 to 96%, while the percentage correct match for each of the 50 paired models range from 40-100%. All the examiners properly matched 60% of the models.

Conclusion: Rugoscopy is a useful technique for human identification due to the unique rugae pattern in every individual. However, without the aid of ancillary aids, visual inspection alone can be challenging. Clinical relevance: This study provides useful information on an additional clinical technique relevant for human identification.

Key words: Forensic, human, identification, palatal rugae, rugoscopy, Ibadan, Nigeria
AJOL African Journals Online