Forensic otoscopy - new method of human identification.
The contemporary forensic science more and more often makes use of lip, face and ear prints. So-called, forensic otoscopy deals with identification of humans based on ear impressions. This article presents results of 10-year Polish research project in that area. The study material encompassed 9000 ear impressions obtained from 1500 person (590 women and 910 men) aged from 15 to 60 years. From each person, 3 prints of left and right ear were collected with pressure of 1 kG, 2 kG and 3 kG, measured with an otometer. Examination of gathered material confirmed the uniqueness and invariability of morphological features of ear auricle. These finding form the foundation for forensic identification of ear prints. During the examination, the following shapes of ear auricle were distinguished: oval, round, triangle, rhomboidal and multi-angular. Each ear print was divided into 24 fields and individual characteristics were denoted in each field. Subsequently, by means of statistical calculations, the characteristics were systemised according to frequency of their occurrence. In practise, that enabled specifying precise criteria for issuing a forensic statement. It was assumed that a categorical opinion stating that an evidential ear mark came from a given suspect required demonstrating conformity of at least 6 fields (out of a catalogue comprising 24). Consistence of other characteristics such ae skin structure, scars or peculiar (non-catalogue) elements of morphology has been implemented in Polish forensic practice. An otoscoplc forensic opinion has a status of scientific evidence and, as such, it is admitted by Polish Courts.
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