Forensic biology is the application of the theories and practices of any branch of the biological sciences to the matters of the law. It includes a number of sub-disciplines such as forensic anthropology, forensic botany, forensic entomology, forensic odontology, etc. Forensic biologists search for and examine traces of materials which might either establish or exclude an association between a suspect, victim, and a crime scene. Evidence is acquired by exploring areas of biology including molecular biology, chemistry, and analytical sciences.
Forensic anthropology is the identification and recovery of remains. Anthropology is the study of humans and in this forensic science discipline, anthropologists can sometimes able to deduce certain characteristics based on skeletal remains. Human remains can record sex, age, height and clues to ancestry.
Forensic entomology is the use of insects and their arthropod relatives that inhabit decomposing remains to aid legal investigations. It can also help estimate the time of death through the different stages of insect development. Moreover, it is commonly subdivided into: medicolegal, urban, and stored product pests. Medicolegal focuses on necrophagous feeding insects that typically infest human remains. Urban aspect of forensic entomology deals with insects that affect man and his immediate environment such as insect marks. Stored product insects are commonly found in food and may be involved in food contamination.
Analysts for forensic botany look for plant life in order to gain information regarding possible crimes. Forensic biologists do not deal with human remains as their primary role is in making connections between evidence and a crime. The leaves, seeds, and pollen found in a crime scene can offer information regarding time scales of a crime and also, movement of bodies between locations.
Forensic ornithology is the field of study that identifies bird species involved in accidents and crimes leaving behind scraps of tissue or feathers.
Forensic odontologists or forensic dentists use their expertise to help identify unknown remains and traces of bite marks to a specific individual. Dentition and dental history are unique to each individual. They use the characteristics of teeth like its alignment and overall structure to aid in the identification of unrecognizable remains.
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