High levels of crime in South Africa and the
resulting court cases requiring bite mark evidence have necessitated
continuous research into the prevalence and interrelationship
of recognisable dental features present in bite marks.
This study represents the largest data set of descriptive statistics
related to intercanine distance, in which the means, standard
deviations, medians and interquartile ranges across four
racial groups were determined. Intercanine distances were also
statistically weighted by determining the common, uncommon
and very uncommon values for each of the racial groups.
The results of this research show that we can consider any
maxillary intercanine distance more than 24.1 mm and less
than 43.0 mm to represent a human bite mark. Black males
had the largest mean (average) intercanine distance of
36.33 mm (standard deviation 2.49 mm) and white females
the smallest mean intercanine distance of 33.4 mm (standard
deviation 2.13 mm). The analyses showed statistically significant
differences between the mean intercanine distances of
different race and gender groupings. The authors do not advocate
trying to determine the race or gender from intercanine
distances determined, but rather the relevance of the
intercanine distances in the specific race and gender groupings.
This study makes a meaningful scientific contribution to
the presentation of bite mark evidence at a time when subjective
opinions need to be replaced with scientific data.