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.


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How Are Coroners and Medical Examiners Different?

Coroners and medical examiners both help investigate unusual or violent deaths. The two jobs are different, but deeply connected.

Viking Warrior in Ancient Grave Was a Woman

Researchers in Sweden confirm through genetic testing that a 10th-century Viking warrior, first unearthed in the 1870s, was a woman.

5 Things You Didn't Know About Autopsies

Autopsies have been around since ancient times, but they seem so shrouded in secrecy. What goes on when a corpse goes under the knife?

How 'Word Cops' Unmask Anonymous Authors

Forensic linguists may never get their own TV show, but these scientists do help solve crimes in their own way.

Do a Person’s Fingerprints Change After Death?

Our fingerprints serve to definitively identify us forever, right? But do they? How long do fingerprints remain usable as identification after we are dead?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

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?

How Forensic Lab Techniques Work

With a little ingenuity and some very high-tech equipment, forensic scientists can help law enforcement catch even the wiliest perpetrator. What are their techniques?

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.

How Forensic Dentistry Works

If serial killer Ted Bundy hadn't been a biter, he might never have been caught. What can bite marks and teeth tell us about a person?

How Crime Scene Photography Works

In detective movies or TV shows like "CSI," photographers swarm in and take countless pictures of a crime scene. But how does crime scene photography really go down?

How Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Works

Was it Miss Scarlett in the conservatory with a wrench? A bloodstain pattern analyst might be able to tell you. The blood from a crime scene has a story to tell.

How Fingerprinting Works

Detectives arrive at a crime scene and lift fingerprints from the murder weapon. They'll use these oily markings to catch their criminal. But how do they match the print to the killer?

How do investigators determine if a wildfire was caused by arson?

Investigators quickly determined that the wildfire that killed five firefighters and burned more than 40,000 acres in Esperanza, CA, was the result of arson.

How Handwriting Analysis Works

When there's a suspect in a crime and the evidence includes a handwritten note, investigators may call in handwriting experts to see if there's a match. Learn all about forensic handwriting analysis.

How Crime-scene Clean-up Works

When you watch crime drama on TV, you don't usually see what happens after the police and ambulance leave a murder scene. One thing those people do not do is clean up the blood. That's the work of a whole different team.

How Crime Scene Investigation Works

Learn what really goes on when a CSI "processes a crime scene" and get a real-world view of crime scene investigation from a primary scene responder with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

How Autopsies Work

The thought of an autopsy usually provokes fear, apprehension or extreme anxiety in people. Cut through the mystery of this process and learn the details of the preparation, procedures and tools used to perform an autopsy.

Could Someone Really Find a Mummy in Their 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?