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HAIR. “For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off.” — Johnny Carson Comedian and television host. INTRODUCTION. Human hair: one of most frequently found pieces of evidence at scene of violent crime.

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  1. HAIR “For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off.” —Johnny Carson Comedian and television host

  2. INTRODUCTION Human hair: • one of most frequently found pieces of evidence at scene of violent crime. • can provide link between criminal and crime.

  3. INTRODUCTION From hair one can determine: • If source is human or animal • Race (sometimes) • Origin of location on source’s body • Whether hair was forcibly removed • If hair has been treated with chemicals • If drugs have been ingested


  5. HAIR SHAFT Composed of: Cuticle • outside covering • made of overlapping scales

  6. HAIR SHAFT Composed of: Cortex • inner layer made of keratin and imbedded with pigment • also contains air sacs called cortical fusi

  7. HAIR SHAFT Composed of: Medulla • inside layer running down center of cortex

  8. THE CUTICLE • outermost layer of hair which is covered with scales. • scales point toward tip of hair. • Scales differ between species of animals • named based on their appearance. • three basic patterns




  12. HUMAN SCALES In order to visualize scales: • paint clear fingernail polish on glass slide • When polish begins to dry, place hair on polish • when almost dry, lift off hair and observe scale imprints

  13. Human Scales What pattern is seen in this slide?

  14. CORTEX • Gives hair its shape. • has two major characteristics

  15. CORTEX Melanin • pigment granules that give hair its color

  16. Cortex Cortical fusi • air spaces • usually found near root but may be found throughout hair shaft

  17. The Medulla • hair core that is not always visible. • comes in different types and patterns.

  18. Medulla Types • Intermittent or interrupted • Fragmented • Continuous • Stacked • Absent—not present

  19. HUMAN MEDULLA Human medulla may be continuous, fragmented or absent.

  20. MEDULLARY INDEX • Determined by measuring diameter of medulla and dividing it by diameter of hair.

  21. MEDULLARY INDEX human hair: • is generally less than 1/3. animal hair: • usually greater than 1/2. mouse

  22. HAIR SHAPE • Can be straight, curly or kinky • depending on cross-section • which may be round, oval or crescent-shaped Crescent moon (Kinky) Oval (Curly) Round (Straight)

  23. HAIR GROWTH • Grows about 0.5 mm per day or 1 centimeter per month • approximately one half inch per month

  24. HAIR GROWTH Anagen • hair that is actively growing • lasting up to 5 years

  25. HAIR GROWTH Catagen • hair is not growing • resting phase

  26. HAIR GROWTH Telogen • hair that is dying and ready to fall out • lasting two to six months

  27. THE ROOT • Human roots look different based on whether they have been forcibly removed or if they are telogen hairs and have fallen out. • Animal roots will vary, but in general have a spear shape.

  28. THE ROOT Forcibly removed Fallen out

  29. Color Length Diameter Distribution, shape and color intensity of pigment granules Dyed hair has color in cuticle and cortex Bleaching removes pigment and gives a yellow tint Scale types Presence or absence of medulla Medullary type Medullary pattern Medullary index Hair Comparison

  30. DNA FROM HAIR • root contains nuclear DNA. • If hair has been forcibly removed, some folicular tissue may be attached containing DNA.

  31. DNA FROM HAIR • hair shaft contains abundant mitochondrial DNA • inherited only from mother. • can be typed by comparing relatives if no DNA from body is available. • process is more difficult and costly than using nuclear DNA.

  32. COLLECTION OF HAIR • Questioned hairs must be accompanied by an adequate number of control samples. • from victim • from possible suspects • from others who may have deposited hair at scene

  33. COLLECTION OF HAIR Control Sample • 50 full-length hairs from all areas of scalp • 24 full-length pubic hairs

  34. HAIR TOXICOLOGY • Collections must be taken from different locations on the body to get an accurate timeline.

  35. HAIR TOXICOLOGY Advantages: • Easy to collect and store • Is externally available • Can provide information on individual’s history of drug use or of poisoning.

  36. Hair Toxicology • Napoleon died in exile in 1821. • By analyzing his hair, some investigators suggest he was poisoned by deliberate administration of arsenic • others suggest that it was vapors from the dyes in wallpaper that did him in.

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