US Forensic Odontology Program to provide debunked ABFO bitemark training?


Photo credit: UT and Ben Francis.

Someone at the University of Tennessee needs to rethink this odontology curriculum. I’m sure that the non-ABFO faculty affiliated with this forensic dentistry program at UT haven’t a clue about what is going on about bitemarks. UT has a tremendous reputation for its Forensic Anthropology department’s development of its “Body Farm” originated by Emeritus Professor Bill Bass and ongoing research in human identification.

After all the flack and criticism in the scientific and legal communities about bitemarks, this course of study (sponsored by its AG dept) is described as the  “first of its kind in the US” via a 34 unit MS program in forensic odontology. The human body ID subject matter section should be exemplary for the students. The bitemark sections will be a rendition of the “elite” ABFO’s “science” or “non-science” (it varies among its few vocal members) which the White House Office of Sci and Tech researcher now considers worthy of “eradication.”

Both program dentists are ABFO members, one of whom has criticized of the University of Buffalo’s groundbreaking odontology research. The 2 recommended odontology texts are from a bunch of ABFOers who publicly continue to scoff at the NAS 2009, ignore their own failed attempts at reliability testing, can’t validate what they do and so on.

A quote: ” The course of study is founded on the standards and guidelines established by the American Board of Forensic Odontology.” Oops.

Caveat Emptor. Too bad the world famous Anthropology department at UT isn’t in charge. Anthros LOVE research data to support their investigations. Dentists are less inclined.

Here is their PR statement:

Description, Scope, & Purpose

“The Forensic Odontology MS degree concentration in Comparative and Experimental Medicine is the first master’s degree of its kind in the United States. The course of study is founded on the standards and guidelines established by the American Board of Forensic Odontology (emphasis added) in the endeavors of human identification, bite mark investigation and analysis, dental age estimation, missing and unidentified persons, and mass fatality incident dental identification team


At the very bottom is this statement about the courses target audience: “……..and others wishing introduction and formalization of skills in the search, recovery, and collaborative identification of compromised human head and neck remains, and recognition (emphasis added) of human and non-human bite marks at autopsy.’

Could there be a sea change within the ABFO connected to this? As in teaching “bitemark” recognition and leaving the aforementioned “bitemark analysis” part out? Too bad the recent ABFO recognition testing proved to be a failure.

UT promotional article. 


About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
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1 Response to US Forensic Odontology Program to provide debunked ABFO bitemark training?

  1. csidds says:

    Reblogged this on FORENSICS in FOCUS @ CSIDDS | News and Trends and commented:

    More on the UT Knoxville Forensic Anthro program which could give the upstarting UT Forensic Odontology program a big scientific boost.

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