WEEK FOUR: Other sciences applied to death investigation

Yajaira G -

Hi, Peeps!

This week, I learned about the sciences that can be used in death investigations. This past Monday, March 4th, I went into the office. There were eight cases for the day, but I only observed four. That is because I then went into the conference room to present the history of the death investigation and coroner systems. I learned a lot of new things. For example, the first recorded autopsy was performed on Julius Caesar to determine which of the 23 stab wounds was the fatal one (it was the one to the scapula) and much more interesting facts. Afterward, I learned about one of the sciences used in death investigations.

First, what can investigators use the sciences for? They can use them as several different resources to determine many different aspects of a death. Each science can help identify the decedent, time of death, location, and much more. What are the sciences, you may ask? First, I will start with forensic odontologists. Forensic odontologists are medical professionals who are trained in odontology. What do they do? They use the application of dental science to identify unknown human remains. Then there is forensic anthropology, which is the study of human remains that involves the analysis of skeletal remains. Forensic anthropologists can help identify the postmortem interval (PMI), biological profile/identification, trauma analysis, and much more. This is also crucial alongside forensic odontology because both aid in identifying unknown remains. There is also forensic entomology, which is the study of the application of insects and their developmental stages on a decomposed cadaver. This helps establish the time of death. Certain species of insects have a very precise life cycle, from which the forensic entomologist can take some samples of them to study their stages to be able to trace back an estimation of when the person passed away.

There are also forensic geologists, whose job is to identify, analyze, and compare earth materials such as rocks, soils, and any minerals in or around a crime scene. For example, they can determine the location of where the decedents were by the soil on their shoes if it doesn’t match the one surrounding the body. Next, there is forensic toxicology, which involves taking blood, urine, and vitreous humor, among other samples, to analyze and determine the presence of drugs, poison, alcohol, carbon monoxide, etc. There are also fire debris and arson analysts, who examine materials from a fire to determine the absence or presence of an ignitable liquid. Finally, firearms experts analyze projectiles and cartridge cases (I will hopefully go more into this topic in a later post).

Otherwise, these are just brief summaries of each different science that can be used.

Thank you for reading!!!

More Posts


All viewpoints are welcome but profane, threatening, disrespectful, or harassing comments will not be tolerated and are subject to moderation up to, and including, full deletion.

    Hi Yajaira! I love the research you did this week, and I cannot believe you presented on it!(you probably did amazing <3).The most interesting part to me is forensic entomology, its so amazing how insects can tell you so much. :)
    Great job explaining these complex terms with examples Yajaira! I didn't know there were different specialists in each department!
    Wow that sounds very interesting! I never knew Julius Caesar was the first to have a recorded autopsy.
    Toby Chang
    Great explanation of odontology - I had no idea how critical it was to forensic analysis. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *