Morphological identification of animal hairs: Myths and misconceptions, possibilities and pitfalls

Silvana Tridico, Max Houck, Kenneth Kirkbride, Margaret Smith, B Yates

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    The examination of hair collected from crime scenes is an important and highly informative discipline relevant to many forensic investigations. However, the forensic identification of animal (non-human) hairs requires different skill sets and competencies to those required for human hair comparisons. The aim of this is paper is not only to highlight the intrinsic differences between forensic human hair comparison and forensic animal hair identification, but also discuss the utility and reliability of the two in the context of possibilities and pitfalls. It also addresses and dispels some of the more popular myths and misconceptions surrounding the microscopical examination of animal hairs. Furthermore, future directions of this discipline are explored through the proposal of recommendations for minimum standards for the morphological identification of animal hairs and the significance of the newly developed guidelines by SWGWILD is discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-107
    Number of pages7
    JournalForensic Science International
    Publication statusPublished - May 2014


    • Animal hairs
    • Human hairs
    • Microscopy
    • Morphology
    • Wildlife forensic


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