Other Areas of Forensic Science

Other Areas of Forensic Science

Forensic Pathology

  • Forensic pathology involves the investigation of unexpected, suspicious or violent deaths.
  • The primary tool of the forensic pathologist is the autopsy.
  • Cause of death (e.g., gunshot wound, heart attack), and manner of death (e.g., suicide, accident, natural) are determined in this process.
  • This field also concerns the study of how and when the death occurred.

Forensic Anthropology

  • Forensic anthropologists specialise in the identification of human remains and determination of the individuals’ characteristics.
  • Techniques include bone examination to determine age, sex, height, and unique features.
  • These professionals often play a key role in cases involving mass disasters, war crimes or missing persons.

Forensic Entomology

  • Forensic entomology uses the study of insects to draw conclusions about a crime.
  • The presence, absence or development of certain insects can provide information about time and location of death.
  • It can also provide clues about the circumstances surrounding a death, such as any wounds inflicted and whether the body was moved post-mortem.

Forensic Toxicology

  • Forensic toxicology involves detecting and interpreting the effects of drugs, chemicals and poisons in the body.
  • This can provide evidence in cases of death, poisoning, drug use, or to determine physiological state at a particular time (like driving under the influence).
  • The role of the forensic toxicologist is highly interdisciplinary, requiring knowledge of pharmacology, analytical chemistry and legal principles.

Forensic Odontology

  • Forensic odontology uses the unique features of dentition to identify individuals.
  • This field can also assist in determining bite marks in cases of assault or identifying remains when DNA is not available.
  • Radiographs, dental history and specific characteristics of teeth are some tools used in these identifications.

Forensic Psychology

  • Forensic psychologists study the interaction of human behaviour and the legal system.
  • They may assess competency to stand trial, advise on sentencing and treatment, or provide a psychological profile of a suspect.
  • This field also involves suspect interrogation, eyewitness memory and credibility assessment.

Final Consideration

  • Forensic science involves the application of a wide range of scientific disciplines to legal contexts.
  • Each forensic subdivision utilises distinct scientific techniques to bear on criminal or legal questions.
  • Precise, ethical, and methodologically sound application of these disciplines is critical to ensure reliability and credibility in the investigative and legal process.