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Chapter: Forensic Medicine: Identification

Personal identity - Forensic Medicine

These records include fingerprints as well as data about height and body mass, and information on build (physique), facial characteristics, hair, teeth, disabilities, scars, tattoos .

Personal identity

The South African Police Service retains a record of all individuals who have been found guilty of an offence. These records include fingerprints as well as data about height and body mass, and information on build (physique), facial characteristics, hair, teeth, disabilities, scars, tattoos (photo 7), et cetera. Photographs are filed separately.



The importance of teeth in the estimation of age has been mentioned (fig 4.15). Comparative studies of the teeth of charred bodies and the dental records of possible victims are of tremendous value.

Congenital abnormalities and birth defects can provide additional evidence. Tattoos are often of value, even after other markings have been destroyed by decomposition. Tattoos often show up better after the epidermis is lost through the ``slip skin'' phenomenom.

Certain markings can be an indication of a person's occupation, such as carbon scars on coal miners' skins.


 

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