8 Body Parts Forensic Scientists Use to ID a Body

We all have to admit there’s been at least one time where you’ve been glued to the T.V. watching those forensic crime shows pondering about how they will ID the victim’s body. Criminal examinations of the deceased, natural disasters and those caused by malice are sadly becoming an everyday part of life, making this field more and more prominent in today’s society. Generally, the bodies on the shows have teeth, an external or internal deformity, or something making the identification progress unique. But in some cases there are victims of unspeakable crimes or circumstances that make identification a challenging task. In either case, here is a list of 8 body parts that are frequently used by Forensic Scientists to identify a body.

forensicfingerprint1. Fingers – Fingerprints still continue to be the most universally used forensic evidence around the world. In most places, fingerprint examination cases out rank any other forensic examination casework totaled. It increasingly has grown to be the most respected method for identifying persons. Over ten thousand people daily have been added to fingerprint repositories in just America alone. Fingerprint identifications have lead to numerous positive identifications of bodies than any other human identification procedure.

forensicteeth2. Teeth – Forensic dentists can use teeth for identification or in some cases a single tooth can be used. If no dental Xray is available, digital photographs can be taken of the teeth to compare to a smile in a photograph during the victim’s lifetime. These dental examinations are quite often key in identifying an person through specific characteristics in the make up of the teeth and can be used to identify the remains of a person, even when entirely distorted from fire and water damage to body.

forensicbone3. Bones – When skeletal remains are found, a Forensic scientist needs to establish from the beginning if the bones are human. If so, different bones can identify things such as sex, race, and age. Leg or arm bones can determine stature and weight. Also, any pathology of the skeleton must be start in order to make an identification of the remains, determine the cause of death and, if homicide is involved, could even identify the murderer.

forensicfacialreconstruction4. Skull – Computer graphics are used to perform a facial reconstruction to estimate the dead person’s appearance. Like other bones, scientists can determine a person’s sex and race from skull features. The difference is , with the aid of these graphics, they can also discover much about the soft tissue in the ears and nose and how much fat the person had on his or her face. The image is then usually distributed for identification.

forensichair5. Hair – Results from hair analysis can be a bit contentious . Multiple factors can have an effect on the results, including the area on the body from where the hair was taken, the color, and the person’s age and race. Standards vary as to methods of washing, cutting, and collecting hair. External substances such as air pollution, composition of the water used to wash hair, and materials used to treat hair such as shampoo, hairspray, and hair dyes may also help with the identification process.

forensicjoint6. Joints & Soft Tissue – Almost 100 percent of the time, if you have something surgically implanted in you by a surgeon, then it will have a documented serial number on record. For medical examiners, these small codes can close cases and give some comfort to the family of the identified. Originally intended to speed recall of defective devices and ensure patient safety, serial numbers on implants and prosthetics are now being used to hurry the identification of John or Jane Does.

forensicskin17. Skin – Body marks can be characteristic of an individual and can be used to support an identification, in conjunction with medical or police records and/or identification given by family members. A scar can come from surgery, an accident, or assault. Scars such as severe acne during youth can leave scars that remain into adult life and may be a helpful identification tool. A number of individuals have scars from common operations like appendix removal. The dates of such operations should be in the person’s medical records and the medical examiner will try to relate this to the age of the scar. If a body is partially or severely decomposed, these marks and their importance may be more of an obstacle.

forensicfeet8. Feet – The foot is an anatomical area that can show a wide range of individuality. There are currently two main forms used for identification on being from records kept by podiatrist while examining and treating and the other being by marks left by objects they have come in contact with the foot like shoes and ground surfaces. Toe nails can be a way to find DNA also.

Forensic science has made much advancement since the days of looking at fingerprints under a microscope. Modern forensic methods use science and advanced technology to assist law enforcement and other agencies in collecting evidence and getting information about a victim. Unidentified bodies and closed cases unacknowledged for years might now have a chance at being solved due to these innovative forensic investigation techniques.