Forensics History

  • Jan 1, 700

    Chinese use fingerprints

    Chinese used fingerprints to establish identity of documents and clay sculptures
  • Jan 1, 1000

    Roman use bloody palm prints

    Roman courts determined that bloody palm prints were used to frame a man in his brother’s murder
  • Jan 1, 1149

    The idea of the coroner

    King Richard of England introduced the idea of the coroner to investigate questionable death
  • Jan 1, 1200

    Invisible blood residue

    A murder in China is solved when flies were attracted to invisible blood residue on a sword of a man in the community
  • Fidelus practices forensic medicine

    Fidelus was first to practice forensic medicine in Italy
  • First high-powered microscope

    Anton Van Leeuwenhoek constructed the first high-powered microscope
  • Body identified by false teeth

    Paul Revere identified the body of General Joseph Warren based on the false teeth he had made for him
  • John Toms convicted over paper evidence

    John Toms convicted of murder on basis of torn edge of wad of paper in pistol matching a piece of paper in his pocket
  • Science of spectroscopy developed

    Gustav Kirchhoff and Robert Bunsen developed the science of spectroscopy.
  • Crime scene photography

    Crime scene photography developed
  • Identifying people with body measurements

    Alphonse Bertillon developed a system to identify people using particular body measurements
  • Fingerprint identification

    Edward Henry developed first classification system for fingerprint identification
  • Human blood groups

    Karl Landsteiner identified human blood groups
  • Every contact leaves a trace

    Edmond Locard formulated his famous principle, “Every contact leaves a trace.”
  • Mass spectrometer

    Francis Aston developed the mass spectrometer.
  • Double helix

    James Watson and Francis Crick discover the DNA double helix
  • AFIS

    AFIS developed by FBI, fully automated in 1996
  • DNA tests to be applied to criminal case

    Jeffreys developed and used first DNA tests to be applied to a criminal case