Forensic scientist skills – fingerprints!

What is a forensic scientist and what skills do they need?

Forensic scientist skills - fingerprinting
Image: Fingerprint morphology
Creative Commons BY SA.

Content Authors:

Dr Mark Fowler


College, University, Specialist

OER Features:

A set of 11 photographs showing the morphology of the fingerprint.

Forensic scientist training photographs


OER Description:

Part of Forensic Science degrees and courses at university and an essential part of training for the forensic scientist will be the understanding finger prints – that is the patterns and impressions left by human fingers and thumbs. The morphology of the finger comprises of a series of ridges called friction ridges which are formed by the epidermis of the skin.

The epidermis is formed from a stratified squamous epithelium which is keratinized – that is – it contains a tough protein to make the skin barrier impenetrable and tough. The complex patterns of the friction ridges mean that practically no two finger prints are identical; therefore they are useful identifiers of individuals who may have been present at the scene of a crime. The identification of fingerprints is known as dactyloscopy, and learning how to identify prints and use them to provide robust crime scene evidence is an important part of the job of a forensic scientist.

At the scene of a crime, finger prints may be left naturally by sweat and or oil that might have been released from glands in the skin, or more often powders and inks are applied to highlight the appearance of the prints. The series of photographs in this resource contain high power photographs of the surface of the skin and you might be amazed to see how the ridges form the surface. Other images illustrate the important components of the finger print itself that are used by the forensic scientist as part of their investigations.



Why search engine optimisation (SEO) is important for the biology courses website

We want as many people across the world to visit our biology courses website. We are creating open education resources and materials for teachers, lecturers anyone supporting learning – we want you too find us and make use of our OERs. We also want prospective students to get an insight into the exciting opportunities that exist at Universities to study biology and all it’s sub disciplines. There are taster materials for you on this site!

We also appeal to current students, new and experienced – get involved, help us improve –   why not write us an article and get your name on here?

biology courses seo

So how did you get here?

You may have typed in the direct URL, website address. Did we meet you at a conference, were we at your school recently, did you read about us in the local news? – this accounts for the majority of our visitors at the moment. Our SEO work in the coming months will change that.

You may have done one of the following:

One – You conducted a search via Google and maybe used one of the following words, biology courses, forensic scientist or biomedical science and we returned in the search results on the first page and you clicked on our website, great! This is what search engine optimisation achieves.

We had to work hard to make this happen!

A website has two audiences, first and foremost you, we strive to make this site valuable and relative to you, easy to navigate, interesting, fresh, up to date and above all a pleasurable experience. Do you have suggestions on how we can improve ? You will really help us by giving us your feedback by commenting below, thank you!

We also need to make sure that Google understands what this website is all about, that it is full of unique quality information and resources and is well respected in the community. We want other relative well regarded websites to link to biology courses, as we offer links to other websites that can help you. This helps us to obtain high ranking positions in the search results for keywords associated with our topics, biology courses and open education. The SEO work undertaken here is known as on-page and off-page optimisation.  We will give a more in depth description of the tasks involved in successful on-page and off-page optimisation in future articles in this series. Please check back soon and subscribe to our RSS feed to obtain all publications as they happen!

Two -You followed a link from Twitter (click and follow Dr Viv Rolfe – Project Manager), our Facebook page (please visit and like us!), or maybe your are subscribed to our RSS feed (if not do it know and get regular updates on all our new publications). Maybe you followed a link from one of the many websites that link to biology courses. If this is the case then  our social media strategy is working as it should. Thanks for visiting!

Social media power cannot be underestimated with over 30 million users in the uk on facebook (half the uk population), between 600 and 6000 Tweets being published on Twitter every second, this is where it’s at. At biology courses we aim to reach out to social media audiences and let them know we exist. We intend to share our social media strategy and results in future blog posts. So please stay tuned, let your friends, colleagues in fact any body you believe would be interested in our website know we are here and follow our social media network on biology courses.

Dr Simon Griffin – On line Marketing Consultant