How do you examine hair evidence?

How do you examine hair evidence?

The examination of human hairs in the forensic laboratory is typically conducted through the use of light microscopy. This examination routinely involves a two-step process—the identification of questioned hairs and the comparison of questioned and known hairs.

What type of evidence is a small hair?

Physical evidence can be any material or object (see Table 2.1). It can take on almost any form: as large as a building, as fleeting as an odor, as small as a hair, or even submicroscopic, like DNA evidence.

How do you examine hair under a microscope?


  1. Place a drop of water at the center of a microscope glass slide.
  2. Using a pair of forceps, place a few strands of hair onto the drop of water (or any other mountant used)
  3. Place the slide under the microscope and observe under low and high power.
  4. Compare different types of hair under the microscope.

What can the microscopic examination of hair tell you?

A microscopic hair examination can also determine if a hair was forcibly removed, artificially treated or diseased. A comparison microscope can be used to compare a questioned hair to a known hair sample in order to determine if the hairs are similar and if they could have come from a common source.

How do investigators package really small items like hair?

Hair found at the scene should be placed in a paper packet and then placed in an envelope. If a microscopic examination is required, then 15-20 representative hairs from the suspect must be submitted to the lab for comparison.

How is hair analysis done?

Hair analysis is done by collecting a hair sample and sending it to a laboratory. If a DNA test is done on the hair, then the hair collected needs to have the root attached. Hair samples are taken from a specific part of the body, such as from the back of the scalp by the neck or from the pubic area.

How do forensics analyze hair?

Forensic scientists perform 3 major types of hair analysis: (1) testing the hair shaft for drugs or nutritional deficiencies in a person’s system, (2) analyzing DNA collected from the root of the hair, and (3) viewing hair under a microscope to determine if it’s from a particular person or animal.

What are five things that can be determined by a single hair?

The body area from which a hair originated can be determined by general morphology. Length, shape, size, color, stiffness, curliness, and microscopic appearance all contribute to the determination of body area. Pigmentation and medullar appearance also influence body area identification.

How much magnification do you need to see your hair?

You can study hair under a microscope, take photos, and record videos of your research with a regular digital microscope. High magnification is not required: magnification up to 100x is sufficient to observe a hair shaft, hair bulb and hair tip.

What information could be gained from analysis of the hair?

Hair is considered class evidence. Alone (without follicle cells attached), it cannot be used to identify a specific individual. In the best case, an investigator can identify a group or class of people who share similar traits who might share a certain type of hair.

What are the three main thing we determine from hair evidence?

Hair – Analysts can tell investigators if individual hairs are human or animal, and in the case of human hair, where on the body the sample originated. Samples can be tested to determine the color, shape and chemical composition of the hair, and often the race of the source individual.

How reliable is hair evidence?

A neutral party selected a total of 10 single questioned hairs to be compared with 10 known samples. Comparison microscopy resulted in 100 percent accuracy in associating the correct questioned hair with its known source, showing that they could reliably associate a questioned hair with a known sample.

How do you package hair in forensics?

Submit individual hairs and fibers in clean paper or in an envelope with sealed corners. The primary paper or envelope should be placed inside a secondary sealed envelope with all corners taped. Many times individual hairs identified on items of clothing are not removed or secured.

What are the three major types of hair analysis?

What information can be determined from hair?

Evidence That May be Collected. Hair – Analysts can tell investigators if individual hairs are human or animal, and in the case of human hair, where on the body the sample originated. Samples can be tested to determine the color, shape and chemical composition of the hair, and often the race of the source individual.

What type of information can you tell about a person by looking at a hair under the microscope?

Forensic scientists view hair under a microscope to collect evidence based on morphology. They usually study the hair’s scale pattern, its color, and the appearance of the medulla. An experienced forensic scientist can easily tell if the hair specimen is from humans or from animals.

Why is my hair green under a microscope?

Sometimes it’s only perceptible under a microscope. But, yes, parts of your body light up like that Japanese cat who’s had green fluorescent protein spliced into its genome. Skin and hair tend to both have a low-lying level of autofluorescence.

What is the main purpose for examining a hair found at the crime scene?

Hair samples are one of the most important resources in the forensic analysis of crime scenes, often providing valuable information that can help to lead to the identification of a suspect or victim.

How do investigators package small items like hair?

What kind of microscope is used to view hair?

A stereo microscope is good for the initial examination of hair before moving on to a compound microscope. Under a stereo microscope, you can easily observe basic characteristics such as color, shape, texture, and length of hair.

How is the pattern of hair follicles seen under a microscope?

The pattern of scaling can be seen by casting the hair in nail polish. When it hardens, there’s a picture of the scaling pattern, which can then be examined under a microscope. The cortex can also be seen under a microscope to compare the appearance of the pigment granules.

How big is a human hair under a microscope?

[In this figure] Hair under a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and a compound microscope. You can see the scale (called cuticle) on the surface. The human hair is about 70 micrometers in width. How a hair grows? What you can look for? Hair is a characteristic attribute of mammals.

Is the microscopic analysis of hair a science?

For all that’s known about the anatomy and appearance of a human hair shaft, the microscopic analysis of hair is still not an exact science. It is subjective and depends greatly on the experience and skill of the person looking through the microscope.