History of Forensic Science

Victoria Meddaugh, Ryan Avalos, & Krystian Gonzalez

Major Developments From 500 BC-1888

1149- job of coroner
This created the start of the modern day crime investigators.

1514- earliest blood splatter evidence
We still use this today to help determine how a victim died

1670- first microscope
We are still using microscopes everyday that help us solve crime scenes

1732- human nervousness system transmits information electrically
This started the basis of the lie detector

1810- chemical test
This use of chemical test is still used today where when mixed with a
certain substance it changes color

1835- bullet comparison
Still used today when ballistics compare bullets to determine or
single something out in a crime scene

1847- examination of hairs
Still used today in crime scenes where hair is found in a crime scene
and used to single out suspects

1850- dental records
We use dental records today to find out who a victim is or to
determine who the criminal is

1880- fingerprints
Fingerprints are used to determine who was at the crime scene or if
they were the ones holding the weapon

Major Developments from 1888-1948

1888 Chicago was the first City in the U.S. to adopt the Bertillion System of identification. Body measurements, physical description, and photographs.
1889 Alexandre Lacassagne publishes text on matching bullets to individual gun barrels. Guns have distinct signature of grooves, scratches, and indentation which you can us to match a bullet to a specific firearm.
1892 Francis Galton publishes his book on fingerprints and their use on solving crimes.
1892 Argentina becomes 1st country to replace the Bertillion System of measurements with fingerprints. Murder was solved by using bloody fingerprints.
1894 Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of treason on mistaken handwriting identification by Bertillion. People have their on handwriting style so you can match their handwriting.
1894 John Megnin presents his theory of successional insect waves inhabiting corpses.
1895 2 canadian researchers start entomological studies on human corpses. Cutting up bugs that are in dead bodies to find evidence.
1896 Edward Henry developed the prototype fingerprint classification system.
1898 Photomicrographs of 2 bullets allow individualization of the finer points of the bullets.
1900 Scotland Yard adopts system of fingerprint identification.
1900 Karl Landsteiner identifies human blood groups.
1901 Paul Uhlenhuth develops precipitin test, distinguishes human and animal blood.
1902 Harry Jackson 1st buglar to be convicted by fingerprints.
1903 NYC Police kept files of the peoples fingerprints that they have arrested.
1903 Mikhail Tswett invents chromatography. Separate chemicals compounds from mixed substances.
1904 Edmond Locard principle Everycontact leaves a trace.
1905 Theodore Roosevelt creats FBI.
1906 bite marks were used to convict 2 buglars.
1907 1st recorded instance of fired cattridge casings being evaluated as evidence.
1910 1st police crime lab created by Edmond Locard.
1910 Victor Balthazard publishes his study of human and animal hair. Also tries to connect a bullet to a particular weapon.
1910 Albert Osborne publishes Questioned documents.
1915 Leon Lattes develops a way to determine the blood group of dried bloodstains.
1920s Luke May one of 1st American criminalists.
Mikhail Gerasimov develops a way to reconstruct facial appearance from a skull. Wrote it in his novel Gorky Park.
Georg Popp uses botanical and soil identification in solving a crime.
1921 John Larson built the lie detector.
1925 bullet comparison was perfected and used in the Sacco and Vanzetti Trial.
1929 seven gangsters were gundown and police were blamed on it. Examination of their guns proved that they weren’t involved.
1935 blowfly lavae was a vital clue in solving a murder.
1941 Voiceprint identification is studied
1948 Keith Simpson launches forensic odontology (bite mark analysis) when examining bite marks on a dead women.

Major Developments from 1952-2007


De Saram published measurements of body temperature decrease in determination of time since death from body cooling.


Mocker and Stewart develop skeletal growth stages, developing basics of forensic anthropology.


James Watson and Francis Crick discover the DNA double helix


Lucas describes the application of gas chromatography, for the forensic identification of petroleum.


The FBI initiates the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which holds information on wanted persons, stolen vehicles, weapons, and any other items of value or interest.


The association of Firearm and Tool mark Examiners is formed dedicated to the advancement of firearm and tool mark examinations.. (AFTE)


The Federal rules of Evidence are enacted based on the relevancy standard in which scientific evidence that is considered more harmful than supporting may not be admitted.


The FBI introduces the beginnings of its Automated Fingerprint Quantification Identification System (AFIS) with the first database that holds scans of fingerprints.


Bite mark evidence and comparison is a key in the conviction of serial killer Theodore Bundy


Professor Alec Jeffrey discovers that each individual, expect for twins, has unique DNA


DNA profiling is introduced for the first time in a US criminal court to convict Tommy Lee Andrews. Three months earlier, was used to identify and convict Colin Pitchfork of the murder of two girls.


A computerized, automated imaging system is introduced for the development of an automated imaging system called the Integrated Ballistics Identification System for the comparison of marks left on fired bullets, and shell casings.


The use of short tandem repeats for forensic DNA analysis are used in forensic DNA Analysis


USA Patriot Act of 2001 allowed the legalized search and seizure of computers.