Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Forensic Science

Forensics is the examination, through physical evidence, of a criminal event or incident. Learn about the various types of forensic disciplines and how they are used to bring the guilty to justice.

Could someone really find a mummy in his backyard?

I was watching a movie the other night and the main character found a mummy in his backyard. Does this really happen? Could someone find a mummy in his backyard?

Why DNA Evidence Can Be Unreliable

DNA found at a crime scene doesn't automatically mean the person matching it is guilty, say researchers of new forensics guide. See more »

Experts Skeptical About Using Snot to Identify a Shooter

They say gunshot residue is not a good way to ID a suspect. See more »

Interactive Gallery: Crime Scene Clean Up

What's involved in crime scene cleanup? Learn about the people who do the cleaning and the various hazards they encounter in this interactive gallery. See more »

How Cremation Works

First, you burn the body until only brittle, pulverized bones are left. These remains are pulverized into ashes, and then placed into urns -- or diamonds, coral reefs and even outer space. See more »

How DNA Profiling Works

If you were thrown into prison for a crime you didn't commit, you'd probably welcome DNA profiling. Although the use of this technology has recently helped bring justice, there may be cause for concern. See more »

How Impression Evidence Works

Criminals always leave traces behind after a crime is committed. In fact, footprints, tire tracks and tool marks are often more prevalent than fingerprints at a crime scene. What can impression evidence tell an investigator? See more »

What do bugs have to do with forensic science?

When a corpse is found, the presence of insects gets a lot of attention during the investigation. But which bugs show up for the flesh feast? And how much can these bugs reveal about death? See more »

How Body Farms Work

Imagine walking through a field and stumbling upon scads of corpses, all in various states of decomposition. It's not the setting for your next nightmare, but rather a very real discipline of forensic anthropology. See more »

How Locard's Exchange Principle Works

One of the most influential ideas in forensic science history is known as Locard's exchange principle. This simple, yet groundbreaking idea forever changed the way we fight crime. But who was Edmond Locard, anyway? See more »

How Forensic Accounting Works

Will your favorite criminal drama feature investigators packing calculators instead of heat? Probably not. However, forensic accountants help investigate criminal and civil cases involving financial issues like fraud. See more »