While you are probably familiar with the field of forensic science through various television shows, such as Law and Order or CSI, real-life forensic science is actually quite different from how these show portray the fields. Although forensic science is not what it appears to be on television, the field is still extremely interesting. I recently discovered this article, which outlines some surprising facts about forensic science, that I would like to share below.
1) Forensic Science Was Not Invented By Scientists
Forensic Science owes its beginnings to cops who relied heavily on observation and common sense. Police officers using fingerprints to identify culprits led to forensic science as we know it today. Modern advancements, such as DNA testing and UV light screening, were discovered and implemented much later. I
2) DNA Testing Saves Lives
DNA testing has exonerated over 242 wrongfully-convicted individuals. Advancements in DNA technology have allowed for the re-investigation of questionable convictions.
3) Thank You Bugs
Insects have proven to be a reliable indicator of a person’s time of death. Insects can help provided an accurate time of when the crime occurred. Having the ability to determine this information can also help investigators determine whether the body was moved from the actual crime scene.
4) Fingerprinting Is Older Than You Think
Fingerprints were used for identification long before police implemented the technique. The ancient Chinese used thumbprints instead of signatures on legal documents. This practice arose because, during these times, the ability to read and write was usually confined to the royalty and the priesthood. When a regular citizen needed to sign a document, it created a problems because they did not know how to sign their name. Instead of taking the time and effort to teach people to write their name, they decided that thumbprints were a viable alternative to signify identity.
5) Analysis Is Not Easy
Television shows give the impression that once a piece of evidence has been retrieved, the results of the testing will soon follow. However, actual testing as a very slow and deliberate process, which can take weeks or even months to complete. The more technical the forensic test, the longer it will take.
6) The Earth Benefits From Forensics
The earth has benefited from forensic science as well. Numerous eco-crimes have been resolved because of forensic scientists, including: mismanagement of hazardous waste, large-scale industrial pollution, and other serious eco-crimes. Scientists are able to trace the chemical signatures of contaminants found in the areas of the incidents.
7) Forensic Science Is Old
One of the earliest accounts of the use of forensic science is in 44 B.C., when Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by Roman senators. After his death, a physician named Antistius was asked to study the corpse and after examination he concluded who was responsible for the crime. The physician made his announcement in the Roman forum, which later gave birth to the name forensic science (forensic – from the Latin forensics, “belonging to the forum”).
For more cool facts, check out this article! Also watch these video below.