FORENSIC SCIENCE TIMELINE

BC: Evidence of fingerprints in early paintings and rock carvings of prehistoric humans.

23rd Century BC: Kautilya has mentioned about study of pupillary lines patterns, criminal investigation and modus operandi in his book ‘Arthashastra‘.

6th Century BC: Sushruta wrote a book ‘Sushruta Samhita‘ presents the field of Ayurvedic surgery dealing with the practice and theory of surgery. and described about various poisons and their treatment.

7th Century BC: Maharrshi Charaka wrote an Indian Medicine Treatise: ‘Charak Samhita‘.

700s: Chinese used fingerprints to establish identity of documents and clay sculpture.

287 to 212 BC: The Eureka legend of Archimedes can be considered as an early use of forensic science. By examining the principles of water displacement, Archimedes was able to prove that a crown was not made of gold by its density and buoyancy.

250 BC: Erasistratus (c. 304–250 b.c.) and Herophilus (c. 335–280 b.c.) perform the first autopsies in Alexandria.

44 B.C:. The first recorded autopsy occurs when Antistius examines Julius Caesar’s body after his assassination.

Second century AD: Galen (131–200 a.d.), physician to Roman gladiators, dissects both animal and humans to search for the causes of disease.

c. 1000: Roman attorney Quintilian shows that a bloody handprint was intended to frame a blind man for his mother’s murder.

1200s: First forensic autopsies are done at the University of Bologna.

1247: Sung Tz’u publishes Hsi Yuan Lu (The Washing Away of Wrongs), the one of the oldest forensic medicine text book.

1348–1350: Pope Clement VI(1291–1352) orders autopsies on victims of the Black Death to hopefully find a cause for the plague.

1500s: Ambroise Paré (1510–1590) writes extensively on the anatomy of war and homicidal wounds.

1591: Zacharias Janssen (c. 1580–c. 1638) designs the first crude microscope with the help of his father, Hans.

1609: Francois Demelle publishes the first treatise on document examination in France.

1683: Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723) employs a microscope to first see living bacteria, which he calls animalcules.

Late 1600s: Giovanni Morgagni (1682–1771) was first to relates autopsy findings to various diseases.

1685: Marcello Malpighi first recognizes fingerprint patterns and uses the terms loops and whorls.

1775: Paul Revere identifies the doctor’s body in a mass grave at Bunker Hill when he recognizes dentures which he had made for his friend Dr. Joseph Warren.

1775: Carl Wilhelm Scheele (1742–1786) develops the first test for arsenic.

1784: The first documented use of physical evidence when John Toms is convicted of murder based on the match of paper wadding removed from the victim’s wound with paper found in Tom’s pocket.

1787: Johann Metzger develops a method for isolating arsenic.

1798: François-Emmanuel Fodéré (1764–1835) publishes Traité de médecine légale et d’hygiène publique.

1800: Franz Joseph Gall (1758–1828) develops the field of phrenology.

1801: Andrew Duncan Sr. (1744–1828) started to deliver lecture on legal medicine at Edinburgh University.

1806: Valentine Rose recovers arsenic from a human body.

1807: Andrew Duncan Jr. (1773–1832) becomes the first Professor of Medical Jurisprudence.

1810: The first use of document examination in a criminal investigation involves the analysis of ink dye on a document known as Konigin Hanschritt in Germany.

1813: Mathieu Joseph Bonaventure Orfila (1787–1853) publishes Traité des poisons (Treatise on Poison), the first toxicology textbook. 

1821: Sevillas isolates arsenic from human stomach contents and urine.

1823: Johannes Purkinje (1787–1869) devises the first crude fingerprint classification system.

1835: Henry Goddard (1866–1957) compared two bullets to show they came from the same source.

1836: Alfred Swaine Taylor (1806–1880) develops first test for arsenic in human tissue.

1836: James Marsh (1794–1846) develops a sensitive test for arsenic (Marsh test).

1849: First Chemical Examination Laboratory in Chennai, India.

1850: Rudolph Virchow (1821–1902) establishes the roots of cellular biology and anatomy.

1850: Johann Ludwig Casper (1796–1864) publishes the first color forensic pathological lithographs.

1853: Second Chemical Examination Laboratory in Kolkata, India.

1853: Ludwig Teichmann (1823–1895) develops the hematin test to test blood for the presence of the characteristic rhomboid crystals.

1857: The first paper on hair analysis is published in France.

1858: In Bengal, India, Sir William Herschel (1833–1917) requires natives sign contracts with a hand print and shows that fingerprints did not change over a fifty-year period.

1862: Izaak van Deen (1804–1869) develops the guaiac test for blood.

1863: Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799–1868) develops the Hydrogen peroxide test for blood.

1864: Third Chemical Examination Laboratory in Agra, India.

1868: Friedrich Miescher (1844–1895) discovers DNA.

1870: Fourth Chemical Examination Laboratory in Mumbai, India.

1875: Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen (1845–1923) discovers X-rays.

1876: Cesare Lombroso (1835–1909) publishes The Criminal Man, which states that criminals can be identified and classified by their physical characteristics.

1880: Henry Faulds (1843–1930) shows that powder dusting will expose latent fingerprints.

1882: Alphonse Bertillon (1853–1914) develops his anthropometric identification system.

1883: Mark Twain (1835–1910) employs fingerprint identification in his books Life on the Mississippi and The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson (1893– 1894).

1887: In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, Holmes develops a chemical to determine whether a stain was blood or not—something that had not yet been done in a real-life investigation.

1889: Alexandre Lacassagne (1843–1924) shows that marks on bullets could be matched to those within a rifled gun barrel.

1892: Anthropometry Bureau was first established in Kolkata, India.

1892: Sir Francis Galton (1822–1911) publishes his textbook Fingeprints. 

1892: In Argentina, Juan Vucetich (1858–1925) devises a usable fingerprint classification system. 

1892: In Argentina, Francisca Rojas becomes the first person charged with a crime on fingerprint evidence.

1893: Hans Gross (1847–1915) publishes Criminal Investigation and coined the term criminalistics.

1895: Dr. Eduard Piotrowski publishes his text on bloodstain pattern recognition.

1897: Herman Welcker (1822–1899) shows his own fingerprints taken in 1897 matched those taken in 1856, thus supporting the findings of William Herschel.

1897: Paul Brouardel (1837–1906) lays out the autopsy findings in victims of strangulation in his book La Pendaison, la strangulation, la suffocation, la submersion.

1898: First explosive examination laboratory was developed in Nagpur.

1898: Paul Jeserich (1854–1927) uses a microscope for ballistic comparison. 

1898: Hans Gross publishes Criminal Psychology.

1899: Sir Edward Richard Henry (1850–1931) devises a 10 digit fingerprint classification system.

1901: Karl Landsteiner (1868–1943) describes the ABO blood typing system. 

1901: Paul Uhlenhuth (1870–1957) devises a method to distinguish between human and animal blood. 

1901: Sir Edward Richard Henry becomes head of Scotland Yard and adopts a fingerprint identification system in place of anthropometry. 

1902: Harry Jackson becomes the first person in England to be convicted by fingerprint evidence.

1903: Will and William West Case effectively ended the Bertillion System in favor of fingerprints for identification 

1903: The first systematic use of fingerprints for criminal identification in the United States begins in the New York State Prison system. 

1904: Oskar and Rudolf Adlar develop the benzidine test for blood. 

1905: The first Central Finger Print Bureau (CFPB) in Shimla, India.

1906: The first Government Examiner of Questioned Document is established in Bengal in 1904 and shifted to Shimla in 1906 in India.

1908: President Theodore Roosevelt establishes the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

1910: Establishment of Serology Department by Dr, Hankin in Kolkata, India.

1910: Edmund Locard (1877–1966) opens the first forensic laboratory in Lyon, France. 

1910: Albert Osborn (1858–1946) lays down the principles of document examination in his book Questioned Documents. 

1910: Thomas Jennings becomes the first U.S. citizen convicted of a crime by use of fingerprints.

1912: Masaeo Takayama develops a microcrystalline test for blood hemoglobin known as Takayama Test.

1913: Victor Balthazard (1872–1950) publishes his belief that each fired bullet carries unique marks.

1915: Footprint Section was established under CID, Bengal, India.

1915: Leone Lattes (1887–1954) develops a method for ABO typing dried bloodstains.

1920: Physicist John Fisher invents the Helixometer.

1920: The Sacco and Vanzetti case brings ballistics to the public’s attention. The case highlights the value of the newly developed comparison microscope.

1923: Los Angeles Police Chief August Vollmer (1876–1955) establishes the first forensic laboratory. 

1923: The Bureau of Forensic Ballistics is established in New York City. 

1923: Frye v. United States sets standards for the admission of scientific evidence into U.S. courtrooms. 

1924: Willem Einthoven (1860–1927) invents the electrocardiogram (EKG).

1924: Hans Berger (1873–1941) invents the electroencephalograph (EEG), the first objective test of human brain activity. 

1925: Philip Gravelle and Calvin Goddard (1891–1955) develop the Comparison Microscope.

1929: The ballistic analyses used to solve the famous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago lead to the establishment of the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (SCDL), the first independent crime lab, at Northwestern University.

1930: Small ballistic laboratory was set up under Kolkata police in India.

1931: John Glaister (1856–1932) publishes his landmark book on Hair analysis. 

1932: FBI’s forensic laboratory is established.

1939: The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin publishes W.H. Krogman’s seminal article on examining skeletal remains, bringing the field of anthropology to the world of forensic investigation.

1943: Oswald Avery (1877–1955), Colin MacLeod (1909–1972), and Maclyn McCarty (1911–2005) discover that DNA carries genetic information. 

1952: The first sate forensic science laboratory established in Kolkata, India.

1953: James Watson (1928– ), Francis Crick (1916–2004), and Maurice Wilkins (1916–2004) identify DNA’s double-helical structure. 

1954: Indiana State Police Captain R.F. Borkenstein develops the Breathalyzer

1956: Central detective training school established in Kolkata.

1957: Fingerprint bureau established in Kolkata by Khan Bhadur Aziz ulla haq and Ray Bahadur Khem Chandra Bose.

1957: First Forensic Science Laboratory established in Kolkata. India.

1960: The Indian Academy of Forensic Sciences (IAFS) was established in India.

1971: William Bass establishes the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

1972: The American Academy of Forensic Sciences establishes the Physical Anthropology Section. 

1974: Detection of gunshot residue by SEM/EDS is developed. 

1977: FBI Institutes the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). 

1978: Electrostatic Detection Apparatus is developed by Freeman and Foster.

1984: Sir Alec Jeffreys develops the DNA “fingerprint” technique.

1987: In England, Colin Pitchfork becomes the first criminal identified by the use of DNA.

1987: First United States use of DNA for a conviction in the Florida case of Tommy Lee Andrews.

1990: Congress establishes the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s Office in the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

1990: The Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) is established.

1992: The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique is introduced.

1993: Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals establishes new rules for the admission of scientific evidence into the courtroom and alters the Frye Rules set in 1923.

1994: The DNA analysis of short tandem repeats (STRs) is introduced. 

1996: Mitochondrial DNA is first admitted into a U.S. court in Tennessee v. Ware. 

1998: BPR&D established the first Forensic DNA typing facility at CFSL, at Kolkata, India.

1998: The National DNA Index System (NDIS) becomes operational.

Reference:

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Blood and Body Fluids, National Institute of Justice, 1983.

Chatterjee SK. History of Fingerprinting in India, The Indian Police Journal (Special Centenary Issue), 1961, pp 152157

Dillon D., A History of Criminalistics in the United States 1850-1950, Doctoral Thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 1977.

Else, W. M. and Garrow, J. M., The Detection of Crime, The Police Journal–London, 1934.

Forensic Science in India, Bureau of Police Research & Development, New Delhi, 1997.

Gaensslen, R. E., Ed., Sourcebook in Forensic Serology, Unit IX: Translations of Selected Contributions to the Original Literature of Medicolegal Examination of

Gaensslen, R. E., Sourcebook in Forensic Serology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1983.

Gerber, S. M., Saferstein, R., More Chemistry and Crime, American Chemical Society, 1997.

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German, E., The History of Fingerprints, 1999. http://onin.com/fp/fphistory.html

Kind, S., and Overman, M., Science Against Crime, Aldus Book Limited, Doubleday, US. 1972

Iyengar NK. Growth and Development of Forensic Science in India. The Indian Police Journal 1961; (Special Centenary Issue):145151.

Misra SC. A Handbook on Police Organization and Administration, BPR&D; 1977. pp 138140.

Morland, N., An Outline of Scientific Criminology, Philosophical Library, NY, 1950.

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Stateoftheart Forensic Sciences: For Better Criminal Justice, National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi, May 1999.

Tewari RK, KV Ravikurnar. Development of Forensic Science in India: A Historical Account. Journal of the Indian Academy of Forensic Sciences 1999;38:1732.

Tewari RK. Application of Forensic Science in Criminal Justice Administration in the Developing Countries. The Indian Police Journal1999; XLVI:7883.

Tewari RK, AK Ganjoo. Fifty years of Forensic Science in India: An Introspection, The Indian Police Journal (Special Issue on Indian Police after 50 years of Independence), Vol. XLV, No. 1 & 2, JanJune 1998, pp 105110.

Tewari RK, KV Ravi Kumar. Nine Decades of Forensic Examination in India, The Indian Police Journal (Special Issue on Indian Police after 50 years of Independence), Vol. XLV, No. 1 & 2, JanJune 1998, pp 116122.

Tewari RK. Swantantrata Ke Pachas Varshon Men Nyayalayik Vigyan Ki Pragati, Uttar Pradesh Police Patrika; 1998.

Third Report of the National Police Commission, Govt. of India, Chapter XXIV; 1980. pp 4047.

Thorwald, J., Crime and Science, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., New York, 1966, Translation, Richard and Clara Winston.

Thorwald, J., The Century of the Detective, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., New York, 1964, Translation, Richard and Clara Winston, 1965.