The history of forensic science is thousands of years old. Many people believe that “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” has made forensic famous a lot by his fiction Character “Sherlock Holmes”. He is also known as the “Father of forensic Science” As it stated in researches use of forensic science first started in China very long back around 7th century. They used fingerprints to keep the document identified and clay sculptures.
A book titled as “Ming Yuen Shih Lu” has also mentioned use of fingerprint in the earlier period around 6th century in China.
Kautilya also mentioned about study of pupillary lines pattern in his book ‘Arthashastra’ thousands years ago. Because of uniqueness of fingerprints, it was common to use as identification. It may be presumed as they used fingerprint as a signature. Fingerprint marks have been used as signature identification for illiterate people since centuries.
In 1775, A Swedish Chemist “Carl Wilhelm Scheele” devised the first successful test for detecting arsenic in corpse and later the work is expanded by German Chemist “Valentin Rose”.
In 1814, Mathieu Joseph Bonaventure Orfila published first scientific treatise on the detection of poison and their effects on animals.
In 1835, Calvin Hooker Goddard pioneered the use of bullet comparison.
Alphonse Bertillon was the first to use fingerprints to solve crime. His Anthropometric method identifying criminals represented a first step toward scientific criminology. Alphonse Bertillon was the first to apply the anthropological technique of anthropometry to law enforcement. He devised a system of identification of criminals which also known as “Bertillon System” which relies on 11 bodily measurements in 1879.
Around 1850s and 1860s, at the time of working in India William J. Herschel started to use fingerprints and handprints as a signature.
In 1880, Henry faulds published a paper on how to catch criminals by fingerprints in “Nature” magazine. Henry Faulds was the first who suggest fingerprints for forensic use.
Francis Galton was the first who studied about fingerprints and uses of it on a scientific basis. He published 3 booklets in the row :
•Fingerprints in 1892
•Blurred Fingerprints in 1893
•Fingerprints Directories in 1895
Galton also published many papers and articles on fingerprints.
In 1893, Juan Vucetich published his first book on “General Instructions for the Anthropometric System and Fingerprints”.
Dr. Edmond Locard formulated the basic principle of forensic science which is “Every Contact Leaves a Trace”. This principle also known as Locard’s exchange principle.
Albert Sherman Osborn was the first who introduced questioned document examination and forged document analysis.
Walter C. McCrone (1916 – 2002) Developed advances in microscopic techniques to solve crimes and analyze evidence.
Mark Twain mentioned identification of murder by fingerprint identification.
Luke May developed tool mark striation analysis and observation and published his work in American Journal of Police Science in 1930.
In 1863, A German Scientist named Christian Schonbein discovered the first Preliminary test for blood.
In 1879, A German Scientist Rudolph Virchow had first described the unique characteristics of Hair.
A French Physician “Francois-Emanuel Fodere” wrote “A treatise on Forensic Medicine and public health” in 1978. It was a First Treatise on Forensic Science for understanding of working of the body.
The development of National DNA Index System created by the FBI in 1998.
For detailed History of Forensic Science Buy the Book- “A closer Look On Forensic Science”
Written by Archana Singh.
Sources:“A Closer Look On Forensic Science“ written by Archana Singh