Morphology and Morphometry of the Dorsal Aspect of the Tongue in Urhobo and Ukwani Ethnic Groups in Delta State Nigeria
Background: The tongue is useful in forensic identification due to its unique features which indicate population, racial and ethnic differences. This study examined the morphology and morphometry of the tongue in two ethnic groups in Delta State Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: The study was conducted in Delta State Nigeria following ethical approval. Subjects from the Urhobo (200) and Ukwani (200) ethnic groups aged between 11-80 years were selected using non-random convenience sampling technique and their informed consent was obtained. The tongue was cleaned and protruded for inspection with subsequent exclusion of tongues with visible pathology. The dorsal surface of the tongue was photographed and the images used to evaluate the dorsal morphological features. The tongue’s length and width were measured using AutoCAD 2010. Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 23 was used to analyze the data. Chi-Square test was used to probe for the association between the tongue morphological features with gender, tribe and age. Independent t-test was used to ascertain ethnic and gender differences in the tongue dimensions while analysis of variance was used to determine the relationship between the dimensions and age-groups. P-value was considered significant at <0.05.
Results: The morphological features of the tongue showed significant association with age, gender and tribe (p<0.05). The dimensions of the tongue showed a significant association with gender and tribe while a significant relationship with age was observed in the length (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The tongue’s morphological features and dimensions were highly variable and showed significant association with gender, age and tribe. The accuracy of using tongue features in forensic investigations should be further investigated.