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Race identification in forensic science

Race identification: It can be determined by:

(1) Complexion: It is of limited value. The skin is brown in Indians, fair in Europeans and black in Negroes. Skin colour is changed by decomposition, burning, etc.

(2) Eyes: Indians have dark eyes, a few have brown eyes. Europeans have blue or grey eyes.

(3) Hair: Indians have black, thin hair. Europeans have fair or light brown or reddish. Indians, Mongolians and Europeans have straight or wavy hair. Negroes have wooly hair (i.e., arranged in tight spirals). Mongolian hair is coarse and dark and usually circular on cross-section. and has a dense uniform pigmentation and dark medulla. Negro hair is elongated, oval on cross-section and has a dense pigment with an irregular distribution. Caucasian hair has round or oval shape on cross-section with uniform distribution of fine or coarse pigment.

(4) Clothes: The dress may be helpful sometimes.

(5) Skeleton: The Cephalic Index (CI.) or Index of Breadth is important.

The length and breadth are measured by calipers between both parietal eminences, and between glabella and external occipital protuberance, and not by measuring tape. The skull of an Indian is Caucasian with a few Negroid characters.

From the various measurements of the skull, Race identification can be determined in 85 to 90% of cases. Because of racial mixing, all the skulls may not be correctly differentiated into the three races.

Caucasian (white): (Europeans, West Asians, Asian Indians and some Americans). Skull tends to be high with almost completely straight lower face (orthognathism). Skull rounded, orbits triangular, nasal aperture elongated, and nasal sill very-sharp-edged, palate triangular, upper and lower limbs normal in proportion to body.

Mongolian (yellow): They have in the malar and midnasal area an anterior protection, giving the appearance of a somewhat flatter facial skeleton than that of the caucasoids. Skull square, orbits rounded, nasal aperture rounded, palate rounded, upper and lower limbs smaller.

Negro (black): The lower face projects forward (facial prognathism), skull narrow and elongated, orbits square, nasal aperture broad, and nasal sill guttered, palate rectangular, upper and lower limbs longer.

Brachycephaly is due to fusion of coronal suture.

Racial mixing has been and is constant, and as such pure races are uncommon and hence make it difficult to do Race identification. The Mongoloids include Native Americans, Asiatic Orientals, such as Koreans, Japanese, Chinese and Southeast Asians.

RELIGION: Hindu males are not circumcised. Sacred thread, necklace of wooden beads, caste marks on forehead, tuft of hair on back of head, and piercing of ear lobes if present are helpful.

Hindu females may have vermilion (cinnabar) on head, silver toe ornaments, thali, tattoo marks, nose-ring aperture in left nostril, few openings for ear-rings along the helix.

Muslim females may have nose-ring aperture in septum only, several openings in the ears along helix and usually no tattoo marks. Muslim males are circumcised and may have marks of corns and callosities on lateral aspects of knees and feet. These help in the Race identification.

 

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