As with all other areas of science, forensic study has evolved at a remarkable pace over the last few decades. While investigators still use conventional methods like following paper trails and interviewing persons of interest, there is also a colorful array of niche specializations that occasionally come into play to help solve a crime. Since a large amount of forensic work is done in a laboratory setting, it should come as no surprise that specialized scientific skills are now among the most desirable in the field of modern forensics. Here are a few different specializations you probably never knew existed within investigations.
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Anthropology and Archaeology
While many court cases concern events that happened relatively recently, there are some situations when human remains and other evidence is discovered years or decades after they were placed. The fields of forensic anthropology and archaeology primarily deal with the identification and examination of environments or remains that are aged or otherwise unsuitable for traditional investigative methods. They may be summoned to help identify old human remains, determine the cause of an accident, or document cases of suspected genocide or serial killings.
Psychology, or the study of human thought and behavior, is a fundamental aspect of the forensic sciences. Some psychologists specialize in investigative applications of their field, focusing their study and skills on analyzing pathological behaviors surrounding crimes. They can also be called as witnesses in variety of cases, ranging from hit and run accidents to multiple homicides, to provide insight into the state of mind of criminals and victims. Developing behavioral profiles can also help investigators and law enforcement understand the behavior, hiding places, and habits of a suspect or victim.
Engineering and Architecture
An expert in architecture may not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about forensics, but there is plenty of room in the field for students of design and construction. These experts usually apply their skills in a commercial setting to inspect structures for quality and determine causes of current issues. They can play an essential role in cases against contractors or construction companies that failed to build according to legal standards or as stipulated in the contract. Lawyers as well as police stations need this kind of evidence collected and analyzed for cases brought to court.
The field of forensics has plenty of room for those who enjoy working in a natural environment. Wildlife forensic science is an area of study dedicated to investigating incidents that were caused by animals. They may be tasked with attempting to identify an individual animal as a culprit, or simply identify the age, gender, and species of the creature. These investigators may work alongside rangers or animal control personnel to keep parks and other natural areas safe for visitors.
Forensics is a field constantly growing and updating. As new crimes and cases come to light, understanding how and why they were committed is important for investigators.
By Eileen O’Shanassy