Palatal Rugae

Palatal rugae are also named as Plicae Palatinae transverse or Rugae Palatine. These are transverse irregular ridges of the mucosa in the anterior third of the palate, radiating from the palatine raphae behind the incisive papillae. They are formed in the third month of intrauterine life or during the period from 12th to 14th week and remain stable throughout the person’s life, not encountered any changes, except for increase in the length as a process of normal extension. Physiologically, they are involved in the oral swallowing and improve the relationship between food and taste receptors on the dorsal surface of the tongue .One of the study has shown that there is no dependence on heredity in determining the form and orientation of rugae pattern. It has been reported that no similarity exists in palatal rugae patterns of siblings and even their parents and also in case of twins; palatal rugae are similar but not identical.


The first suggestion of using palatal rugae as a method for personal identification was first suggested by Harrison Allen in 1889. Thomas and Van Wyke have documented a successful identification of a severely burnt edentulous body by comparing the rugae patterns with ante-mortem records .




Thomas C J, Kotze T J, Vander Merwe CA. An improved statistical method for the racial classification of man by means of palatal rugae. Arch oral Biology 1987; 32:315-7.

Authored by

Shubhra Gajbhiye

M.Sc. (Forensic Science)

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