The discriminative potential of palatal geometric analysis for sex discrimination and human identification

Botond Simon, Kenneth Aschheim, János Vág

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous 3D superimposition studies of digital scans of the human palate, using geometric and surface morphology comparisons, have shown its usefulness in assisting in the identification process, including its ability to distinguish identical twins. This study aimed to evaluate the discriminative potential when only simple geometric analysis is used. Its aim is not only to determine if geometric comparison alone is sufficient not only to assist in identification but if it supports the hypothesis of assisting in sex discrimination when no other comparative data is available. The palates of 64 monozygotic (M.Z.T.) and 39 dizygotic (D.Z.T.) twins were digitized three times using a scanner. Digital smoothing was used to remove the rugae, and palatal height, depth, and width were measured. The study confirmed that the smoothing function had little effect on the discriminatory function since the Mean Absolute Distance (MAD) between M.Z.T. (0.430 ± 0.018 mm versus 0.425 ± 0.022 mm p = 0.061) or D.Z.T. (0.621 ± 0.058 mm versus 0.586 ± 0.053 mm, p = 0.284) scans show little change. By combining the height, depth, and width into a discriminative function, the sex correctly correlated 83.9% of the time, identity by 91.2% sensitivity, and twining by 68.5%. The difference in the 3D palatal model between twin siblings is primarily due to palate geometrics. Since geometric comparison requires far less computation time, geometric comparison alone can be used as an adjunct metric for limiting the possible matches in a dental 3D database in determining both sex and identity, especially if no other evidence is available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2334-2342
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • gender discrimination
  • intraoral scanner
  • palatal vault
  • palate
  • palate geometrics
  • probability value


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