Shape and Unification Pattern of Palatal Rugae as a Race Identification Tool- A Cross-Sectional Study


  • Firoz Ismail
  • Rejeesh.E.P
  • Rajesh.H
  • Nabeel Abdul Vahid



Palate rugae, Odontology, Shape of rugae, Rugae unification 2


Background: One of the integral parts of forensic medicine is identification of individuals from biological
samples and from the anatomical signatures. Identification of individuals, races, species, gender from the
anatomical signatures of teeth and oral cavity is one of such branches which existed in practice in crude
form even before origin of the Forensic odontology as a specialization. Individual variations in Palatal rugae
pattern, and its biometric value as a potential tool for establishment of identity was reported centuries back. It’s
not standardised or included in the regular standard protocols even today in the age of artificial intelligence.
In this pilot study we are comparing two racial groups i.e., Indian and Malaysian with established parameters
for palate rugae with an objective of testing feasibility and validation for identification of individuals and
racial groups and also to provide preliminary data for larger studies.
Aims and Objectives: The aim of this pilot study is to explore the feasibility of palate rougoscopy as a tool
for race identification by studying the shape and unification Pattern of Palatal Rugae in Indian and Malaysian
Methodology: Study population was male Indian and Malaysian Medical and Dental students, aged 18-25
years studying at Mangalore, India. Sample size 80 (40 in each group); were selected for studying Palatal
Rugae. The palate impressions were collected using maxillary alginate cast. The parameters assessed were:
shape an unification based on classification of Thomas & Kotze. Comparison for two populations was done
using non-parametric Mann-Whitney Test.
Results : Predominant Shape: The Curvy patterns were more common in Malaysians compared to Indian.
The Wavy patterns were more common in Malaysians than Indians.The Circular patterns were more common
in Indians than Malaysians.
Predominant unification: Diverging patterns were more in Malaysians than Indians and Converging patterns
were more in Indians than Malaysians and statistically significant.
Conclusion : In the present study the Malaysians had predominantly curvy and wavy patterns and Indians
had circular shapes. Straight patterns were seen equally in both the populations. Although unification of
the palate rugae was seen, the diverging patterns is more in Malaysians and Converging patterns more in

Author Biographies

Firoz Ismail

Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Mount Zion Medical College, Adoor, Kerala


Department of Pharmacology, Mount Zion Medical College, Adoor, Kerala


Professor, Dept Of Periodontics,
Faculty of Dentistry, Melaka-Manipal Medical College, Malaysia

Nabeel Abdul Vahid

Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics,
Independent Practitioner



How to Cite

Firoz Ismail, Rejeesh.E.P, Rajesh.H, & Nabeel Abdul Vahid. (2021). Shape and Unification Pattern of Palatal Rugae as a Race Identification Tool- A Cross-Sectional Study. Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, 15(2), 2351-2355.