The Trace Evidence
Unit identifies and compares specific types of trace materials
that could be transferred during the commission of a violent
crime. These trace materials include human hairs, animal hairs,
textile fibers and fabric, ropes, feathers, and wood. The physical
contact between a suspect and a victim can result in the transfer
of trace materials such as hairs and fibers. The identification
and comparison of these materials can often link a suspect to
a crime scene or to physical contact with another individual.
Torn pieces of fabric can be positively associated to a damaged
garment, and broken pieces of wood can be positively fit together.
Odontology (forensic dentistry) and physical anthropology (skeletal
remains) examinations are also performed. These examinations
are conducted to assist in the identification of human remains.
The Unit maintains
reference collections of human and animal hairs, natural and
man-made textile fibers, fabrics, feathers, woods, and seeds.
For more information
about trace evidence examinations or the Trace Evidence Unit,
see the Anthropology
sections of the
of Forensic Services.
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The comparison microscope
in trace evidence examinations
Cross section of nylon carpet
Microscopic view of a hair