Friday, January 26, 2018

Human Bites

    A human bite is a nasty thing. While any bite that breaks the skin can become infected, human bites have a very high incidence of complications. About 10-12% become infected, the majority of those bites occurring on the hand. 

   Human bites marks are distinctive. While animal bites often leave triangular or circular holes,
human bites commonly produce bruising more than punctures. The four incisors in both the upper and lower dental arches produce rectangular marks. Those of the short canine teeth are triangular in appearance. If punctures do occur, they correspond to the shape of the teeth producing the injury. 

Soooo...can you bite off a finger? Oh, don't act like you weren't thinking it! Do you have any idea how often I am asked that? A lot. Mainly I ask myself but the point remains and it begs an answer which is, well, probably not. It is more likely you would bite through the joint but not tear the digit from the hand. 

  A finger isn’t firm like a carrot which is with what it’s often compared in this instance. Unlike a solid carrot, a finger contains muscles, ligaments, tendons and
bone. And, although biting through that may be possible and I feel certain it is, the skin is pretty stretchy. I think that would be the toughest part of the whole thing, the skin. Think about when you’ve bitten into a piece of cooked chicken with the skin on it. You might bite through the firm underlying meat but still struggle to bite through the skin.

Can you bite off a hunk of softer tissue like the cheek or bicep? Again, I think tearing through the skin will be the biggest issue. You could absolutely do tremendous damage but I’m not sure you could take off a chunk. If it were firm cartilage you could. You absolutely can bite off pieces of the nose as well as the ear, as we will see Mike Tyson do. And, yes, you can bite off genitalia. (Point of interest, that is exactly how a honey badger takes down big game. Just felt like I should add that.) 

      On that note, the location of a bite says a lot about the circumstances of the attack. Bites on the hands and arms are often basic defense wounds. Bites in more sensitive areas are associated with more intimate violence. And, yes, bite marks can be used forensically as evidence. However, the saliva associated with it them is far more useful.

    So, how does one defend against a human bite? Funny you should ask, I went over that today with my coach. He and I have both done this to dogs as well as the odd person/child that felt the need to try and a take a chunk out of us. If a person bites you on a limb, you jam the limb into their mouth to the back of the jaws. It's painful and they gag pretty good. If they bite you on softer tissue, you need to cause more pain first. Simple as that.

   And now, without further adieu, I give you Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield. It pains me to attach this because I really like Tyson both as a fighter and the human that he is TODAY. 

   I have followed Tyson's career from its beginnings and I saw this fight live. If you have never seen him fight, I hate that this is your introduction. His movement is amazing.

    In the interest of fairness, here is Tyson's apology.

 Until the next round at, get blood on your pages!

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