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Identification plays a very important role in any crime investigation. The pattern of wrinkles on the lips has individual characteristics like fingerprints. A review of the literature reveals very little research done on lip prints so far. The present article reviews in detail the history, scope of cheiloscopy, and the use of lip prints in crime detection. It also highlights the current research carried out in the field of cheiloscopy. An effort has been made to help the researchers by reviewing in detail the various methods of classifying and analyzing the lip prints.

It concludes by enlightening the readers with the fact that the possibilities to use the red part of lips to identify a human being are wider than it is commonly thought. The introduction of fingerprints in the beginning of the past century as the only reliable means of human identification was due to the significant works of three distinguished persons — Sir William Herschel, Sir Francis Galton, and Sir Edward Henry.

Fingerprint system was first used in India in by Sir William Herschel. Many a time, the materials with which a criminal may come in contact are unlikely to receive fingerprints of sufficient clarity to be useful as evidence. Awareness of the modern techniques of crime detection has alerted the criminals for taking sufficient precautions like the use of gloves. In such circumstances, the identification of criminals using accurate methods like fingerprint analysis fails to establish a positive identity.

The investigators can rely on cheiloscopy as supportive evidence in specific investigations. Thus, today identity can be established by a combination of methods which makes the identification process relatively flawless. The pattern of wrinkles on the lips has individual characteristics as fingerprints.

Cheiloscopy quiloscopy can be defined as a method of identification of a person based on characteristic arrangement of lines appearing on the red part of lips or as a science dealing with lines appearing on the red part of lips.

The biological phenomenon of systems of furrows on the red part of human lips was first noted by anthropologists. Fischer[ 2 , 3 ] was the first to describe it in As early as , Edmond Locard,[ 4 ] one of France's greatest criminologists, recommended the use of lip prints for the identification of a person.

Until ,[ 2 , 3 ] however, anthropology merely mentioned the existence of the furrows without suggesting a practical use for the phenomenon. The idea of using lip prints for identification was first suggested by Le Moyne Snyder. Martins Santos in [ 6 — 8 ] proposed that these lip characteristics could be used in personal identification and devised a simple system for classifying lip prints.

It was in Hungary during that the first research in Europe was carried out in the subject of lip prints. The examination started after lip traces had been found on a glass door at the scene of a murder. At this time, the usefulness of the lip traces for criminalistic identification was proven.

Since , the Japanese have carried out extensive research in the matter. They said that there was an individual specificity in the morphology of the lip grooves. In , Kazuo Suzuki and Yasuo Tsuchihashi[ 5 , 9 ] carried out more investigations, which included uniovular twins They divided the lips into four quadrants and devised their own classification of six different types of grooves. They demonstrated that no two lip prints manifested the same pattern, that lip prints of uniovular twins were extremely alike, and that their characteristics may be inherited from either parent.

This was further confirmed by Tsuchihashi[ 5 , 10 ] in his longitudinal study which included persons and the family groups. These results added the strength to the theory of the heredity of lip prints. He found that the lip prints did not change over a period of time. It was observed in his study that no two uniovular twins had exactly identical lip print patterns. He also found that following trauma to a lip, it resumed its groove pattern after healing.

Based upon the research by the two Japanese scientists mentioned above, it was established that the arrangement of lines on the red part of human lips is individualistic and unique for each human being. This statement led to the conclusion that there is the possibility of using the arrangement of furrows on a trace, in a linear form on lips for the identification of a person.

During the years —, cheiloscopic techniques had been used in 85 cases, including 65 burglary cases, 15 cases of homicide, and 5 cases of assault. In 34 cases the identification was positive, which means that cheiloscopic techniques were equal in value to other types of forensic evidence.

It has also been included in evidence for presentation in court. It was during the period — that studies were carried out by several researchers in India and other countries.

A study on postmortem changes of lip prints[ 21 ] was also carried out to find out the changes in anthropometric measurements of the lip region before and after fixation. All these studies were in agreement with the Japanese research and thus helped in concluding that the cheiloscopic studies can be implemented as an auxiliary method of identification. It is difficult to place the lip prints in the general system of traces. The unique properties of the lip print help in identifying a human being spatially when it is revealed as a stratified surface trace with visible elements of lines.

In the case where the lines are not clear, individual identification of a human being based on this trace is extremely difficult unless the trace contains more individual characteristics, e. In these cases, it is possible to examine the substance which constitutes the trace, e. This process has not yet been attempted. When a lip print is found at the scene of a crime, the character of the event, the number of the people involved, sexes, cosmetics used, habits, occupational traits, and the pathological changes of lips can be concluded.

Just like fingerprints and teeth, lip prints can be used as an identifying tool in forensic sciences as each individual's lips have a specific pattern of fissures. Lip prints may also appear side by side with tooth marks on food products. In practice, lip prints have also been revealed on the surface of windows, paintings, doors, plastic bags, and cigarette ends.

Traces with clear lines and individual elements enable individual identification of a human being. In a sense, lip prints have the same value as dactyloscopic traces. In the case of traces, in the shape of stains, the identification examination terminates with group identification; in their character they are similar to other chemical and biological traces. From the mid s until , research into conventional lip prints was carried out.

In recent years, however, the cosmetic industry has been developing lipsticks which do not leave a visible smear or mark in contact and have been called persistent lipsticks. A Spanish group[ 5 , 23 , 24 ] has looked into the latent lip prints i. They suggested that with the introduction of new smearless or markless lipsticks, the possibility of latent lip prints should be considered.

Fingerprints are developed by a number of methods which rely on the fact that sweat and body oils which have been transferred from the body to an object react with a number of reagents to become visible. Alvarez et al. According to them, the vermilion borders of the lips have minor salivary glands and sebaceous glands.

These glands are associated with hair follicles, with sweat glands in between, and secreting oils. With these secretions and continual moisturizing, it makes the latent lip prints available at most of the crime scenes.

Williams[ 8 ] also stated that lip prints could be recorded without the use of lipstick or other recording medium, provided a suitable non-porous surface had been used which was then developed for prints.

In the study of Castello et al. They used a property of luminescence for latent lip print development. Luminescence is specially a useful property for the search of invisible evidences at the scene of a crime. A group of Korean authors, Kim et al. Lip print recognition has been less developed than the recognition of other human physical attributes such as the fingerprint, voice patterns, retinal blood vessel patterns, or the face.

A new method using multi-resolution architecture is proposed to recognize a lip print from pattern kernels. This function converts the information from a lip print into digital data. Collection of lip prints from the crime scene and recording the lip print of the suspect plays a very important role. Lip prints can be classified and further analyzed only when a clear image is obtained. Various authors have tried different methods of collection of the lip prints[ 27 ] to get an analyzable image.

Classification of the lip prints is based on the pattern of wrinkles or grooves on the vermillion border of the lips. Santos in [ 8 — 10 ] divided the nature of wrinkles and grooves into simple and compound types. Simple type was further subdivided into four groups, i. Compound type was further subdivided into bifurcated, trifurcated, and anomalous groups. Santos also classified the lip based on its thickness[ 14 ] as thin, medium, thick, and mixed type.

Thin lips are generally seen amongst the European people. Medium lips are 8—10 mm in thickness, in which the pink zone is found to be more rounded. This type is more commonly found in the general population.

Thick or very thick lips are very big in which the labial string appears inverted. These are the characteristics of Negros. Mixed type of lips was very commonly seen in Oriental people. Santos also reported various types of commissures like horizontal, flat, and elevated.

This classification is most commonly followed for recording the patterns on the lips. A French scientist, Renaud,[ 14 ] studied prints of the lips and found that all were different except in case of uniovular twins and accordingly gave the classification shown in Table 2. Kasprzak[ 3 ] gave a classification that has been proven in practice, in which he determined the pattern based on the numerical superiority of properties of the lines on the fragment.

After the patterns of lines had been established, a first catalog of individual features was prepared and 23 types of individual properties were differentiated[ 2 , 3 ] [ Table 3 ].

As the basis for the classification, the middle part of the lower lip, 10 mm wide, was taken since this fragment is almost visible in the trace.

Individual features of line pattern on red part of lips, given by Kasprzak[ 2 ]. Using the aforesaid classification, Suzuki and Tsuchihashi[ 10 ] recorded the lip prints in a way resembling a dental formula, generally used in a dental clinic.

By noting the classified type of the grooves, the individual's lip print pattern was recorded. Three technical methods can be applied in a cheiloscopic expertise:[ 2 , 3 ]. The method of determining common features similar to dactyloscopy : Establishment of seven to nine fine characteristics leads to positive identification.

Determining the common properties is the most basic identification method. The essential part of this method is the hypothesis that in order to establish identity between evidential and comparative material, one should determine the common features, including individual features from the catalog of 23 types of features [ Table 3 ].

The photographic montage method and the contour method supplement and support the method of establishing common properties.


Cheiloscopy: An aid for personal identification

Identification plays a very important role in any crime investigation. The pattern of wrinkles on the lips has individual characteristics like fingerprints. A review of the literature reveals very little research done on lip prints so far. The present article reviews in detail the history, scope of cheiloscopy, and the use of lip prints in crime detection. It also highlights the current research carried out in the field of cheiloscopy. An effort has been made to help the researchers by reviewing in detail the various methods of classifying and analyzing the lip prints.



Regret for the inconvenience: we are taking measures to prevent fraudulent form submissions by extractors and page crawlers. Received: October 06, Published: November 16, Cheiloscopy in the human identification. Forensic Res Criminol Int J. DOI: Download PDF.


Forensic Research & Criminology International Journal

Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, K. Cheiloscopy is a forensic investigation technique that deals with identification of humans based on lips traces. The aim of this study is to establish the uniqueness of lip prints which aids in personal identification. The study group comprised of subjects. The materials used were dark-colored lipstick, paper, cellophane tape, a brush, and a magnifying lens. This study shows that lip prints are unique and permanent for each individual, and the lip prints among family members and between twins revealed different patterns on the whole with few similar grooves suggesting the existence of heredity in the lip prints. Our study showed that lip prints are unique to each individual and can be used for personal identification.

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