HIstory of Forensic Science

  • 250

    First Method of Lie Detection

    ERASISTRATUS , an ancient Greek physician, observes that his patients' pulse rates increase when they tell him lies. This is supposed to be the first lie detection test.
  • Jan 1, 1247

    First book of forensic medicine

    In 1247 the first textbook on forensic medicine is used when suspicious deaths would occur.
  • Sep 11, 1507

    Call to have Physiciians involved in criminal law

    Constitutio Bambergensis Criminalis appears in the diocese of the Bishop of Bamberg. This book emphasizes the usefulness of physicians in legal cases involving ibodily injury.
  • Detection of Arsenic

    Karl Wilhelm SCHEELE (1742-1786) discovers that he could change arsenious oxide to arsenious acid, which in contact with zinc produces arsine. This discovery later plays a great part in the forensic detection of arsenic.
  • Conviction based on physical matching for first time

    In Lancaster UK, John Toms is convicted of murder on the basis of the torn edge of a wad of newspaper in a pistol matching a remaining piece in his pocket. This was one of the first known documented uses of physical matching.
  • Toxicology

    Mathieu Bonaventure ORFILA (1787-1853), professor of medicinal and forensic chemistry at Univ. of Paris, publishes Traite des Poisons. Considered the father of modern toxicology. Significant contributions to development of tests for the presence of blood in a forensic context. Credited as the first to attempt the use of a microscope in the assessment of blood and semen stains.
  • senile ecchymoses

    T. BATEMAN first describes senile ecchymoses when he notes dark purple blotches and determines that they are due to the extravasation of blood into the dermal tissue.
  • 9 Fingerprint Patterns identified

    John Evangelist PURKINJI, a professor of anatomy at the University of Breslau, publishes his thesis discussing 9 fingerprint patterns, but he too makes no mention of the value of fingerprints for personal identification.
  • Pink Teeth

    Thomas BELL (1792-1880) first describes "pink teeth". Presumes, that they are pathognomonic of hanging or drowning.
  • English chemist James MARSH (1794-1846) developes a test for the presence of arsenic in tissues.

    The "Marsh Test" is very sensitive, detecting as little as 0.02 mg As.
  • Determining Time of Death

    One of the first attempts to determine time since death from fall in body temperature. Experiments with dead soldiers in Malta and Britain, using a mercury thermometer were done by Dr. John Davy
  • In a murder trial in 1850

    , the male victim shows clear chemical burns in his mouth, tongue, and throat. Jean Servois STAS searches for three months for the agent, and eventually manages to isolate nicotine from the body tissues. Using ether as a solvent, which he then evaporates to isolate the drug, he finds the potent drug. It was, in fact, the murder weapon. The man's killer had extracted it from tobacco and force-fed it to the victim. With STAS's testimony, the killer is convicted.
  • BURMAN uses temperature graphs to determine time since death.

    Big help with determining the time of how long a person has been dead.
  • Coroners Act

    The 1887 coroners act ensured that an integral part of the coroners’ role was to determine the circumstances and the medical causes of sudden, violent and unnatural deaths.
  • New Yourk Prison uses fingerprints

    Major step in identifying suspects in crimes where visible prints were left.
  • Death of Juius Caesar 44B.C.

    Ancient Roman physician Antistius examines the dead body of Julius Caesar after his assassination and finds that there are 23 stab wounds and that only one of them were fatal.
  • World's FIrst DNA Database

    The world's first national DNA database commences operations in the UK on 10 April 1995.This is a major development that will help identify biological remains.