The determination of the individuality of a person based on physical characteristics.
Necessary in living person, recently dead, decomposed body, mutilated body and skeleton.
Necessary in criminal cases like physical assault, murder, rape etc. or in civil cases like marriage, passport, insurance claim, missing person.
At least two identification mark should be noted by the doctor in all ML cases.
The police has to establish the identity of the person. In some cases doctor may be able to supply identification marks of the person, dead body or fragmentary remains.

The corpus delicti: the body of offense, the fact of any criminal offense. The corpus delicti of murder is the fact that the person died from unlawful violence. Clothing with weapon mark, photographs of deceased showing injuries etc. are included in this term.
The main part of corpus delicti is establishment of identification of dead body.
It includes the body of the victim and other facts which are conclusive of dead by foul play, eg bullet or a broken knife found in the body.

Identification Data:
Race determined by
eyes (european-blue/gray),
hair (european-fair, brown, straight, wavy; negros-elongated, oval on crosssection with dense pigment; negros have wooly hair; mongolian hair is coarse and dark, usually circular in cross section)
Skeleton- the cephalic index=max breadth of skull/ max length*100
dolicocephalic (CI 70-75) aryans, negros,
mesaticephalic (CI 75-80) europeans and chinese
brachycephalic (CI 80-85) mongolian


In female, barr body present in the buccal mucosa smear, neutrophil content small nuclear attachment of drumstick form (davidson body) in 6%.
Sex determination is difficult in hermaphroditism, concealed sex, advanced decomposition, skeleton.
Males have square orbits, prominent supra-orbital ridges, sub-pubic angle ‘V’ shaped (70-75 degree), pelvic inlet heart shaped, less movable coccyx.


Hindu males are not circumcised, sacred thread, cast mark on forehead, tuft of hair on the back of head
Hindu females: vermillion in head, silver toe ornaments, nose ring aperture in the left nostril
Muslim females: may have nose ring in septum only, several openings in the ear
Muslim males: circumcised


Can be determined from teeth, ossification of bones, secondary sex characters and general development in case of children.
Temporary and permanent teeth can be seperated. Temporary are smaller, lighter, china-white colored crown, smaller and more divergent roots.
Tooth eruption dates help identify the date
Gustafsons method is used for estimation of age of adults over 21 years. It is based on attrition (wear and tear of occlusal surface upto pulp), paradentosis (regression of gums and periodontal tissues in advancing age or pathology), cementum aposition (secondary cementum slowly and continuously deposited throughout life forming lines appearing as cross striation in the enamel of teeth and used to count to know the age), root resorption, transparency of the root.

Individual bones ossification centre also used to calculate age eg, symphysis pubis, sternum, hyoid bone, skull, sacrum, vertebra. First bone to ossify is clavicle.

General development and stature

Varies at different time of day by 1 &half to 2 cm.
Malnutrition and old age reduces stature.
On an average body lengthens by 2cm after death.
If the body has dismembered, stature may be determined by length of tip of the middle finger to the tip of opposite middle finger, twice the length of one arm with 30cm added for 2clavicles and 4 cm for sternum

Anthropometric measurement

Includes color of hair, eyes, shape of nose
Body marks as moles, scar, tataoos
Body measurement as height, AP diameter of head, the span of outstretched hands
External pecularity eg. mole, birth mark, scar, tatoo mark
Age of scar- 5-6 days, reddish or bluish angry scar; by end of 14 days, scar becomes pale; in 2-6 months, the scar becomes white and glistening, tough and may wrinkle
ML importance of scar is mark for identification, age of scar, shape of scar may identify the weapon.

Superimposition is the technique applied to determine whether the skull is that of person in the photograph
Finger print and foot print

Classification of fingerprints:

Loops (67%) may be radial or ulnar
Whorls (25%)
Arch (6-7%)
Poroscopy is further study of finger prints which studies microscopic pores on the ridges on fingers formed by sweat glands.
Foot prints (podogram) are also used
Lip print (cheiloscopy) also used
Personal effect eg. Cloth, jewellery, pocket content
Handwriting (calligraphy is characteristic of the individual, esp if written rapidly
Speech and voice: certain pecularities of speech eg, stammering, stuttering, lisping may be more evident when talking excitedly
Memory and education (sometimes useful, esp. incase of imposture)


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